BusinessGreen brings you this week's green business headlines from around the world
Kale United takes stake in vegan pea pioneer Swedish Temptations
Swedish holding company Kale United, which has a mission to back the growth of plant-based businesses, has taken an undisclosed stake in Swedish Temptations, the firm behind a new pea-based vegan tempeh.
Swedish Temptation's Bärta product is a tempeh made from sprouted and fermented split peas rather than soy. The firm plans to expand its operations throughout Scandanavia to take advantage of the growing trend for plant-based foods.
Kale United raised €250,000 at the end of last year and has a plan to use the funds to invest in new and exciting plant-based brands. Swedish Temptations marks Kale United's second investment, following its initial investment in Ocean Hugger Foods, which is making plant-based alternatives to fish proteins.
Kale United is now planning a €1m funding round from investors to help fund the next wave of plant-based companies.
27 firms back green finance guidelines for Belt and Road programme
A series of green finance proposals designed to ensure China's flagship 'Belt and Road' development plan prioritises green projects received backing from 27 global banks this week.
The Green Investment Principles, drawn up by the City of London Corporation's Green Finance Initiative in partnership with China's Green Finance Committee, aim to incorporate low-carbon and sustainable development into projects in Belt and Road countries.
Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, and UBS are among the 27 banks to have signed up to the principles this week, which have also been endorsed by the UK government.
"The aim of the Green Investment Principles is to ensure that environmental friendliness, climate resilience, and social inclusiveness are built into new investment projects in the Belt and Road," explained Dr Ma Jun, chairman of China Green Finance Committee.
Sweden's fossil-free steel plans take step forward
An industry scheme to pioneer a new green method of steel production took a step forward this week, with the HYBRIT programme in Sweden placing an order for equipment needed to generate sustainable hyrodgen.
HYBRIT, a joint venture between SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall, plans to replace coal with fossil free electricity and hydrogen at the pilot steel production site in Sweden.
A 4.5MW electrolyser solution, made by Nel Hydrogen, was ordered this week and will be used to produce emissions-free iron ore. The HYBRIT scheme is also experimenting with replacing coal with biofuels to cut emissions.
The steel industry is one of the highest CO2-emitting industries, accounting for seven per cent of carbon emissions globally and 10 per cent in Sweden.
The pilot plant for fossil free steel production will operate from 2021 until 2024, with the goal to have an industrial process in place by 2035.
Bloomberg tops up UN climate budget
Former New York Mayor and UN climate envoy Michael Bloomberg has once again stepped in and filled the gap in donations to the UN climate secretariat's budget left by US President Donald Trump.
Under President Barack Obama the US promised to donate $15m to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat for the two year 2018-2019 funding cycle, but under Trump's tenure the US has only donated $2.5m for the period.
In 2017 Bloomberg promised to meet any funding gap for the Secretariat caused by the US, and last year donated $4.5m. Earlier this week he said he has donated another $5.5m to cover funding costs, and promised to cover 2020 costs if the US continues to not pay its share.
"The United States made a promise to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement - and if the federal government won't hold up our end of the deal, then the American people must," said Bloomberg. "As mayors, governors, business leaders, and private citizens across the country work to ensure that we meet our climate targets, our foundation will again cover the difference in federal funding to the United Nations. Together, we're sending a loud, clear message to the rest of the world: regardless of what's happening in Washington, we're in this fight with you."
Tata teams up with Karo Sambhav to fight Indian e-waste
Tata Power is offering up to INR500 (£5.50) worth of vouchers to people trading in electric waste for recycling and reuse, under a new campaign to stem the tide of electrical waste in India.
The scheme, launched this week on Earth Day, sees Tata Power team up with Karo Sambhav, India's leading e-waste producer responsibility organisation, to try and encourage more consumers and companies to dispose of their e-waste responsibly.
Consumers will be able to drop off goods at Tata customer centres and offices in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, and collections will be arranged for larger e-waste consignments, Tata Power said. To promote participation, e-vouchers for Tata's online retail arm, Tata Cliq, will be issued. Up to INR200 (£2.20) will be available for less than 50kgs E-waste, and up to INR500 (£5.50) for more than 50kgs, Tata said.
Tepco backs TCFD guidelines
Tepco has become the first Japanese utility to sign up to the guidelines from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFDs), which aim to help investors better judge climate risks faced by listed companies.
Tepco said it will use the TCFD framework for sharing financial and non-financial information with its broad range of stakeholders. "While TEPCO faces risks related to climate change issues, there are also new business opportunities, such as providing zero-CO2 emission electricity rate options that leverage renewable energy sources," said executive vice president and CFO Seiji Moriya.
"We aim to improve our business activities via stakeholder engagement and the disclosing of information in accordance with the TCFD recommendations in order to deal appropriately with climate change-related risks and opportunities," he added. "We will continue to contribute to greenhouse gas emission reductions that integrate low carbonisation and electrification with the sustainable growth of our company and society."
Germany hits 77 per cent renewable power record
On Easter Monday renewables generated a record 77 per cent of grid power in Germany, Clean Energy Wire reported this week. Strong winds and sunshine meant renewables generation went into overdrive, according to analysis from reserach institute Fraunhofer ISE. It beats the previous record, set on December 8 2018, when renewables generation 75 per cent of the country's grid power.
Sustained efforts are needed to deploy more renewables and improve electricity access for world's poorest, progress report warns
New plans for a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay are 'credible and financially viable', according to report for Swansea Council
Charitable foundations and philanthropists should funnel their cash into environmental action, say 11 of the UK's leading scientists
Firm plans to have five new public access stations up and running by the end of the year, in bid to enable long-distance, low emission trucking