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COVID-19 and the SDGs drive growth in sustainable bonds

The Asian Development Bank is developing a publication on the SDG Accelerator Bond idea in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP) ASEAN Hub and experts from the private sector.

According to Moody’s, global sustainable bond issuance topped nearly $100 billion in the second quarter of 2020, a quarterly record. An emerging trend is that the established green bond market is being increasingly supplemented by social and sustainable bonds.

Emergency relief projects in Tajikistan and the Philippines

For many developing countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a shift from climate financing towards relief, recovery, and social investment. In addition, the increase in bonds for social development may also be due to a growing realization that we have less than a decade to achieve the 17 ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Beacons of progress: 10 new lighthouse factories join the cohort

10 new factories have been awarded Lighthouse status, joining 44 others. They have not only survived the disruptions of COVID-19, but they've pivoted to scale up operations, make supply chains more sustainable, upskill the workforce and improve customer satisfaction - all by adopting technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Read more here.

Ericsson and UNICEF partner to close the digital gap

Ericsson and UNICEF have announced a global partnership to help map school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023. Mapping the internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities is a critical first step towards providing every child with access to digital learning opportunities.

Children use their tablet and work with each other at the UNICEF supported Debate e-Learning Centre in a village on the outskirts of Kassala, the capital of the state of Kassala in Eastern Sudan.
Screen time!
Image: UNICEF/Noorani

This joint effort is part of the Giga initiative. Launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Giga aims to connect every school to the internet. Ericsson is the first private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to the initiative and does so as a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping.

According to the ITU, 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet. Improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity, and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.

Europe's leading companies mean green business

The COVID-19 pandemic has made leaders across all sectors realize that the green transition must happen faster, and that they must act now in order to achieve more sustainable and resilient economies.

CEOs and senior representatives of 30 European companies have pledged their support for the European Green Deal as a growth strategy for Europe with a joint statement. They see the COVID-19 recovery as the opportunity to reset Europe’s economy with a new growth model on the path to net-zero emissions, based on circularity, renewable energy and low-carbon industries.

See the full list of signatories here.

HP. Two doctors. And a lot less ocean plastic

HP's $2 million investment to expand its ocean-bound plastic supply chain has borne fruit. Last year the company launched a research programme in Haiti looking at ways to produce cleaner, higher quality recycled plastic locally for use in HP products.

From the research, Dr. Jenna Jambeck and Dr. Christine Cuomo discovered innovative ways to keep plastics out of our oceans. What they learned there could help create a blueprint for addressing the current plastic crisis and develop scalable, self-reliant and truly circular supply chains — while building a new green economy.

Google's sustainability moonshot

This is our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity. We are the first major company that's set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it.

In its third decade of climate action, Google is building a carbon-free future for everyone. Here’s how:

  • By eliminating its entire carbon legacy, effective today.
  • By becoming the first major company to make a commitment to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all its data centres and campuses worldwide. This is far more challenging than the traditional approach of matching energy usage with renewable energy, but its working to get this done by 2030.
  • By investing in technologies to help its partners and people all over the world make sustainable choices. For example, Google is investing in manufacturing regions to enable 5 GW of new carbon-free energy, helping 500 cities reduce their carbon emissions and finding new ways to empower 1 billion people through its products.
  • Google estimates that the commitments it’s making today will directly generate more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and associated industries, in America and around the world, by 2025.

Read more here.

Principles in a pandemic

Members of the Forum’s Regional Action Group on the Middle East and North Africa, created in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have come together to sign Principles of Stakeholder Capitalism, which will accelerate public-private co-operation on action-oriented initiatives and projects to strengthen the region’s resilience for the post-COVID-19 era.

Companies which have signed up include Al Dahra Holding, Alshaya Group, Amanat Holdings, Bank of Palestine, Commercial International Bank, Consolidated Contractors Company, Crescent Petroleum, Dawood Hercules, Dow Chemical Company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Islamic Development Bank, Kuwaiti Danish Dairy, Lulu Financial Group, Majid Al Futtaim, Riyad Bank, Siemens, Tamer Group, VPS Healthcare and Wamda Capital.

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