Articles by Elizabeth Beall on the GC Blog and GC analysis
WORLD: Following a breakfast event on the shifting politics of climate change, Practice Lead for Climate and Sustainability, Elizabeth Beall, sat down with our guest Caroline Lucas MP to discuss what's causing a shift, thoughts on a Green New Deal, and what sectors are likely to see the greatest changes ahead.
Something that was easy to miss amidst the headlines of net-zero targets and climate emergency is the release of the EU’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance’s taxonomy technical report. The name and the length – more than 400 pages – may be off-putting, but this document holds significant implications for the wider sustainability and climate change agendas, because the way that it has defined what is ‘green’ is likely to reverberate across sectors for years to come. Three tensions stand out in what has been included, how it will be used and when it will be relevant.
WORLD: Are consumer preferences the main drivers behind the public policy changes? How food systems should change to meet growing demand, from increasing productivity, reducing waste and changing diets? Listen to Senior Director, Stephen Adams, Practice Lead for Sustainability, Elizabeth Beall and Associate, Mollie Brennan discuss the future of food in the UK, Europe and globally.
A key challenge for the European Union’s 2019-2024 policy cycle will be to secure a larger share of the economic opportunities offered by new technologies, in a more explicit race with the United States and China. Hopes in the previous cycle that this could be secured by a new generation of start-ups and by establishing the EU as a global regulator are being replaced by a renewed emphasis on building from existing industrial strengths. This will become most obvious during the German Presidency in the second half of 2020, but is already informing the policy agenda and power balance of the incoming European Commission and European Parliament, as well as driving domestic policy decisions in member states. The first components of this pivot towards interventionism have been a set of competing proposals, including from France and Germany, on how to regulate and support the integration of specific technologies, such as artificial intelligence, batteries for electric vehicles and the internet of things. Global Counsel’s team of policy advisers anticipate, however, that this eventually will be complemented by a focus on the enabling infrastructure for this modernisation. Given the importance of infrastructure in investment portfolios and in corporate planning, the economic impact of these choices will be even greater than the explicit industrial policy agenda. Most obviously, this will require the delivery of superfast internet connectivity, on which the adoption and application of new technologies will depend, but also on the rules that drive adoption of process innovations such as the re-use of waste. Decisions in these areas also take place alongside more urgent pressures for common standards for zero emission transport options and for a clear pathway towards decarbonisation of the energy mix. In this publication, we assess some of the choices that policymakers face or will face in these areas, and the consequences for business and investors that stand to win or lose from a changing regulatory and funding landscape.
Following a client breakfast, Practice Lead for Sustainability Elizabeth Beall sat down with Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, to discuss the circular economy and the UK's Waste and Resource Strategy.
EUROPE: Global Counsel Practice Lead Elizabeth Beall is joined by Member for European Parliament Seb Dance to discuss circular economy policy.
We’re a few days away from the start of the annual climate negotiations – or Conference of the Parties (COP) – this year happening in Katowice, Poland. It is already being hailed as Paris 2.0 or the COP that puts the agreement found in Paris into action with associated rules and procedures. With Ireland on the verge of becoming the first country to require its Strategic Investment Fund to divest from fossil fuels, the EU committing to net zero emissions by 2050, and the Greens surging in Germany, it would appear that there is a growing trend of climate action and general agreement. But the UN emissions gap report issued yesterday and the IPCC report of a month ago paint a different story about how many of the countries thought to be leading on climate, are nowhere near achieving their Paris agreement pledges or the measures that it will take to keep warming to 2 degrees. So, is Paris burning with the stage set for a return for pre-Paris deadlock? Four things to watch next week.
That probably got your attention. It certainly got enough attention to ensure that the editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, William Sitwell, had to stand down after he joked that "killing vegans, one by one" was preferable to publishing a feature on plant based recipes. The story broke on World Vegan Day: talk about bad timing.
Plastics and what to do about them has shot to the front of the global policy agenda, dragging waste policy - an area most often relegated to the shadows - into the limelight. The issue matters for all voters - not just green leaning advocates - as it has implications for local taxes and reaches right into the household bin. There has been no new direction on waste policy since 2011 and no significant regulations since well before that. This combined with a public increasingly supportive of change in how waste is managed means growing anticipation for the forthcoming UK Waste and Resource Strategy due to be released before the end of the year. The Treasury’s recent inquiry into how to address waste resulted in 162,000 responses - the highest of any in history. The question is whether the strategy can satisfy the calls for ambitious transformative change while aiming to keep all corners happy as Brexit tensions rise. This note explores some of the background of why it is a pivotal moment for waste policy and unpacks a few of the key areas of policy debate with a forecast on what’s likely to come through in the strategy.
Iceland, a UK supermarket chain, has announced that it intends to ban palm oil from all of its own brand products by the end of 2018. Such a move on palm oil is not a new idea: the EU has been toying with its own potential ban over the last year.
This week saw Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg launch the second phase of the work of the G20 Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The report sets out a comprehensive framework to help a range of companies, from asset managers to the extractives industries, explain the potential impacts of climate change – and the efforts to tackle it – on their business. It also encourages them to set out how they are managing those processes. On Thursday, Global Counsel hosted Jane Stevensen, Task Force Engagement Director for the Carbon Disclosure Project who has spent the last year working closely with the Task Force, to discuss the implications of this landmark report.
US President-elect Donald Trump has wavered very little throughout his campaign in his stance on climate change – calling it a hoax and threatening to roll-back all regulations and funding supporting it. The Trump win in the midst of climate negotiations left many wondering just how far Trump would aim to take the US away from any and all climate action, including the Paris Agreement. Even with early indications seeming in favour of a strong Trump reversal – a Republican Congress and legal room to exit Paris – there may be stronger forces at play, both at home and abroad.