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Concerned investors with £625 billion+ under management call for greater clarity on emissions lobbying by auto companies

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A coalition of 19 investors with over £625 billion in assets under management has written to 11 major automobile companies to call for improved reporting of their public policy interventions on emissions standards.

The letters to Volkswagen, BMW, Honda, Daimler, General Motors, Ford, Fiat, Peugeot and Toyota request detailed information on the lobbying position they are taking on emissions legislation currently being debated in the US and EU.

Signatories to the letters include AXA Investment Managers, Swedish National Pension Funds AP2, AP3, AP4 and AP7, Environment Agency Pension Fund, and WHEB Group.

This initiative comes in the wake of the recent diesel emissions scandal that exposed Volkswagen’s use of software to beat emissions and air quality tests. This has led to broader scrutiny of the relationship between automobile companies and regulators, as legislative standards are currently being debated in the EU and US on transport emissions.

The letters ask for specific details on the companies’ positions on proposed EU CO2 emissions standards and US CAFE efficiency and GHG-related standards.

They also call for further information about the companies’ interactions with the regulatory process on these standards, their spending on trade associations, and ask for greater clarity and disclosure of activities by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the trade association found to be obstructing the progress of EU automobile emissions regulation.

These areas have been identified by InfluenceMap, a non-profit that analyses and ranks companies by their influence on climate change policy, as areas in which the companies do not provide sufficient reporting detail. These areas could be crucial for investors in predicting future crises like the one at VW.

Another letter has been sent to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault. Nissan and Renault have been recognised as some of the best performing companies for EU CO2 fleet emissions. This letter recognises Renault and Nissan’s performance on this topic, and encourages Ghosn into dialogue, particularly as he now chairs ACEA.

Seb Beloe, Partner and Head of Research at WHEB Group, says: “The Volkswagen crisis has helped to uncover the unhealthily close relationship between the automotive industry and regulators, particularly in Europe. In the long-run this undermines the competitiveness of the European car makers and we believe it is in the interests of investors and the environment alike to gain a better understanding of what goes on behind closed doors.”

Dylan Tanner, Executive Director at InfluenceMap says: “When it comes to the engagement underway between a company and the key regulations affecting it, there are often sparse details available to investors. The Volkswagen case highlights the need for a much greater disclosure regime, both of the company’s specific position on key legislation and its involvement in the policy process.”

ShareAction Chief Executive, Catherine Howarth, says: “The share price carnage brought on by the defeat devices scandal has focused the minds of shareholders of automobile firms. ShareAction is pleased to be assisting institutional investors in getting hold of risk-relevant information from the largest car makers in the world about their relationships with regulators and politicians.”

Image credit: Automobile exhaust via Flickr by Ruben de Rijcke

 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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