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August 2020

Plastic pollution in oceans

August 2020: Approximately 200 million tonnes of plastic waste entered the Atlantic Ocean in 1950-2015. The volume of plastic waste is projected to triple in the next 20 years, increasing the need for more stringent policies to reduce the amount of plastic in use and significantly expand current waste management capacities.

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Loss of Arctic sea ice

August 2020: Melt ponds in the Arctic are causing sea ice to melt at an accelerated rate, suggesting that Arctic summers will be ice free by 2035. This may lead to sea level rises, changes in ocean currents and global weather patterns that can lead to floods, storms, costal erosion, and infrastructure destruction.

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Just transition to decarbonised energy

August 2020: the energy sector should focus on local labour market conditions, available technology knowledge, geographic resources, and social impact in addition to its financial viability. Without integrating the social and economic dimension of energy transitions, such strategies are at risk of compounding existing inequalities.

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Disposal of PPE

August 2020: Due to the pandemic, the use and disposal of single use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has risen to unprecedented levels. It poses significant risks to environment and human health and could intensify pollution from plastics. New innovative methods for reusing disposed PPE will be needed in conjunction with increased waste management capacities.

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Shifting India’s sugar industry from food to biofuels

August 2020: Shifting the use and production of sugar in India from food to feedstock for biofuels could decrease rising numbers of micronutrient deficiencies in India and incentivise the cultivation of more nutritious crops. It could further reduce pressure on India’s natural resources and support the decarbonisation of India’s transport sector.

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Carbon footprints and product pricing

August 2020: Companies aiming to decrease their carbon footprint often face challenges when demand for ‘green’ products increases as rising sales often lead to increased carbon footprints of the company. Dynamic pricing based on carbon footprints combined with strategic marketing campaign may help close the carbon footprint gap.

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Reforestation and forest protection

August 2020: Covid-19 has led to a spike in illegal forest activities resulting in increased forest degradation and deforestation, particularly in the Amazon and Congo basin. Increasing forest restoration and forest protection efforts that focus on forest intactness and biodiversity presence could support the sustainable management of forests with high ecological value.

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Biodiversity and technology

August 2020: Pairing artificial reefs with AI monitoring technology may support the restoration and protection of marine habitats. It could increase fish abundance and strengthen coastal protection in degraded ecosystems. Such approaches could be expanded to shipwrecks, wind turbine cables, or decommissioned oil and gas rigs.

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Manulife Investment Management becomes newest member of CISL’s Investment Leaders Group

Oct 09, 2020

9 October 2020 – Manulife Investment Management is the latest organisation to join the Investment Leaders Group (ILG), a voluntary member initiative striving to create an investment chain that prioritises economic, social and environmental sustainability. The ILG is convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

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Adele Wiliams

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The views expressed in these external research papers are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.