Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact

A general view of Gulf Cement Company in Ghalilah, Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates July 16, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 July 2019

Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact

  • The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, meaning that if it were a country, it would be the third largest emitter, behind the US and China

LONDON: European funds managing $2 trillion in assets called on cement companies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions on Monday, warning that a failure to do so could put their business models at risk.
Some asset managers are ramping up engagement with heavy polluters to demand a faster transition to a cleaner economy.
“The cement sector needs to dramatically reduce the contribution it makes to climate change,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 170 members, mainly European pension funds and asset managers. “This is ultimately a business-critical issue for the sector,” Pfeifer said in a statement.
The group said investors had written to cement or construction materials companies including Ireland’s CRH, Franco-Swiss group LafargeHolcim and France’s St. Gobain to demand they achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
They also noted that Germany’s HeidelbergCement had already adopted the target. The funds urged all cement companies to align themselves with the 2015 Paris agreement to combat global warming, engage with policymakers to ensure an orderly transition to a low carbon economy, and increase their reporting of climate risk.
“Construction materials companies may ultimately risk divestment and lack of access to capital as an increasing number of investors seek to exclude highly carbon-intensive sectors from their portfolios,” said Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of the Ethos Foundation.

FASTFACT

The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Signatories collectively manage assets worth $2 trillion and include Aberdeen Standard Investments, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Sarasin & Partners and Hermes EOS.
Although funds are increasingly engaging with companies from airlines to carmakers on emissions, few are calling for the systemic transformation of the global economic system that scientists increasingly argue is needed to prevent runaway climate breakdown.
The cement industry produces 7 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency, meaning that if it were a country, it would be the third largest emitter, behind the US and China.
With climate campaigners traditionally focused on fossil fuel companies, the European cement sector has received comparatively little scrutiny until recently.
On Tuesday, police arrested six climate activists from civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion at a protest aimed at disrupting a site in east London belonging to London Concrete, a unit of LafargeHolcim.
In June last year, a report from think-tank Chatham House concluded that although there was no “silver bullet” to reduce emissions from cement, it should be possible to deploy a range of policies and technologies to achieve deep decarbonization.


Europe’s Wizz Air to launch Abu Dhabi carrier next year

Updated 12 December 2019

Europe’s Wizz Air to launch Abu Dhabi carrier next year

  • Budapest-based Wizz Air said its new carrier aims to offer flights from Europe to the Middle East,
  • Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be formed via a joint venture with state-owned Abu Dhabi Development Holding

ABU DHABI: European low-cost airline Wizz Air said on Thursday it plans to launch Wizz Air Abu Dhabi in the second half of 2020, its first carrier outside of Europe.

Budapest-based Wizz Air, one of the largest low-cost airlines in Central and Eastern Europe, said its new carrier aims to offer flights from Europe to the Middle East, and longer term to the Indian subcontinent and Africa as well.

“We believe the new airline has the potential to be a significant player in the region,” Wizz Air Holdings Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi said in a statement.

It faces competition, however, as Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways’ low-cost joint venture with Air Arabia is expected to start operations by the second quarter of 2020 from Abu Dhabi.

Wizz Air, which flies to 44 countries, has operated flights from European cities to Dubai since 2013.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be formed via a joint venture with state-owned Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company PJSC.

With a fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will gain access to markets with 5 billion potential customers across Europe and beyond, Wizz Air said in its statement.

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