New research published in journal Nature
suggests that replacing 20% of the planet’s beef consumption with a meat substitute over the coming 30 years could halve the deforestation and carbon emissions associated with the meat’s production. Raising cattle is a major driver of deforestation, and the animals themselves are a major producer of methane.
Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have modelled replacing one-fifth of beef consumption with the meatless alternative mycoprotein, most commonly known by its brand name Quorn, produced by fermenting fungus with glucose and other nutrients. The replacement would cut methane emissions by 11% compared to a ‘business as usual’ approach. Modelling also suggests that replacing 50% of beef consumption with Quorn type alternatives would cut deforestation and emissions by 80%.
Amazon deforestation spikes
Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon are continuing to reach record levels. Following record monthly highs in January and February, April also reached a record with more than double the amount of forest destruction that occurred in the same month in 2021. In total well over a thousand sq km was cleared in April according to analysis of satellite data from the Brazilian national space research agency. In the first four months of 2022, total deforestation in Brazil amounted to 1,954 sq km, an increase of 69% over the same period last year.
Speaking to Reuters
, the director of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute said that clearing of the forests has become institutionalised, with record after record being broken. Environmentalists blame the policies of Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who has relaxed environmental protection
EU reporting shakeup
Draft new corporate reporting standards
have been put out for consultation by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group ahead of being submitted to the European Commission towards the end of 2022. The standards will form the basis for how companies in the EU will have to disclose on environmental, social and governance performance under the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.
The draft standards include the principle of double materiality – in other words reporting on both the financial implications of ESG issues and the external impacts of the reporting company or organisation. This has been welcomed by the Global Reporting Initiative, which has long been pushing for double materiality. GRI is widely regarded as the leading provider of voluntary standards on sustainability reporting and has been working with the EU’s advisory group since mid 2021.
UK borders act questions
The UK’s newly enacted nationality and borders act has raised concerns about new human rights and modern slavery risks. The headline change is the rather bizarre prospect of people seeking asylum in the UK being shipped off to Rwanda instead, which has been widely condemned by human rights groups and is already subject to legal challenge. The new laws also provide for criminalising those desperate enough to be seeking asylum and will take away being subject to modern slavery or exploitation as a reason to not be removed from the UK. Quite how a shift towards making it harder for people to seek protection from exploitation as a means to reduce the numbers of asylum seekers can then be argued as a method of targeting traffickers and protecting their victims remains to be seen.