By Ira Srivastava

1. Jeff Bezos announces AI for climate funding. Jeff Bezos’ Earth Fund has announced that it will be distributing US$100 million in funding for artificial intelligence-based climate and biodiversity solutions. AI is shaping up to become a pivotal tool in industries around the world. The first round of grants will be given in September during Climate Week, with a second round of funding to follow. Proposals must come from organizations rather than individuals, but the Earth Fund has promised that grant recipients will receive mentorship and infrastructure access as necessary to achieve their goals. Leveraging the power of AI for good in the fight against climate change could be hugely impactful in the future. 

2. Europe is staying committed to ESG. European politicians and investors are largely supportive of ESG. While politicians in the region have made some concessions to water down biodiversity and disclosure legislation, the larger trends show that the EU is still committed to sustainability. In the United States there are only two ESG rules compared to 20 in the EU. Investors in Europe have seven times as much capital invested in green funds than US investors, with US funds largely flowing away from ESG. Many more EU’s public pensions are prioritizing green investments compared to the US pension funds. Additionally, the European public is much more united in believing climate change is a major threat regardless of political beliefs while the American public has significant divisions based on political affiliation. 

3. CEOs in the US foresee strong ESG returns. KPMG’s U.S. CEO Outlook Pulse Survey collected data from 100 CEOs who were in charge of companies that made at least US$500 million in revenue. The results showed that 17% of respondents felt that ESG initiatives were their top priority. Despite backlash, CEOs continue to spearhead ESG strategies because they believe there will be a strong return on investment. 55% expected “significant returns” on ESG investments between 2027-2029. CEOs are looking beyond compliance with ESG reporting rules and planning on long-term value creation by integrating sustainability throughout corporate strategy. Read the full report here.

4. Swiss Senior Women for Climate Protection win their lawsuit. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of the Swiss Senior Women for Climate Protection, stating that the Swiss government is violating the human rights of these women by failing to protect the environment. This is the first time that a transnational human rights court has ruled in favour of climate preservation based on human rights. This particular lawsuit argues that heatwaves pose a significant threat to the health of senior women. The court ruled that Switzerland failing to prevent these heat waves was a violation of their right to good health.

5. Apple makes strong progress towards net-zero commitments. Apple has announced that the company now uses three times more renewable energy than it did in 2020, and aims to reach net-zero for charging infrastructure by the end of the decade. The organization has also worked with over 300 suppliers to help them move to renewable energy sources. This shift has prevented the release of 18.5 million metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Apple also has strong targets in place for water conservation and nature preservation, with a “goal of replenishing 100 percent of the freshwater used in corporate operations”. Through 2050, this will equal almost 7 billion gallons of water. Their nature-based solutions focus on restoring floodplains and ecosystems so that they are more resilient.

Ira Srivastava is Competent Boards’ Program Coordinator. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.

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