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Climate disclosure rules are expanding. Companies need to keep up

Our latest selection of articles from New Zealand and around the world on environmental management and sustainability. Click here to subscribe.


Welcome to another issue of SnippETS, where we again showcase a number of interesting developments in the sustainability and climate change space.


2023 was the year when legislation aimed at eliminating greenwashing and emissions disclosures passed, with 2024 the year, these various pieces of legislation came into effect.  And when you might expect these pieces of legislation to be toothless, think again, where in France failure to disclose a company’s emissions could end up with a five year stay in prison.


There has however been an unintended consequence of passing these tougher pieces of legislation, as companies are now going silent on making claims of progress, or what is being termed as ‘greenhushing’.  This is especially so in France.  But it may have an effect on the Propane Education & Research Council (Perc), who are greenwashing by advertising Propane, which is a fossil fuel, as a clean form of energy for everyone.


As we live in an economy dominated by capitalism, we need to make capitalism work for a positive future.  One way of using the capitalist system to lessen the impacts of climate change, is to introduce subsidies for things like renewable electricity generation, regenerative agriculture, green roads, energy efficiency, etc.  And given that COP28 saw 200 countries agreeing to double their rates of energy efficiency from 2% to 4%, subsidies will be needed to accelerate this shift.


We end up examining just what green roads actually are, how Agrivoltaics can positively contribute to plant growth and huge increases in biodiversity, especially among insects and pollinators.  Our last article focuses on five examples of people power positive climate action, demonstrating how many people, working together, over a long period of time, can indeed beat the system.


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Here is the full list of articles...


Kicking off with news inspiring hope, regulations requiring companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions are becoming law around the world, including in the US and Europe.  These new laws will soon cover over half the world’s economy, putting pressure on corporations to calculate and share their emissions info publicly.  Critically, new laws in the US and Europe require companies to report emissions across their entire value chains, including Scope 3 emissions which can account for as much as three quarters of a companies’ footprint. Read more…


France is leading the way in enforcing change by introducing penalties for corporate directors who fail to adhere to reporting requirements.  The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), introduced into law by the European Union in 2023 requires large companies to disclose their social and environmental risks to the government and public at large.  France is the first member state to incorporate the directive into national law and introduce penalties for failure to comply, including fines and jail time of up to five years. Read more…


What’s more, companies in the EU must now provide proof when claiming their products and services are climate neutral, biodegradable, or eco-friendly, banning claims based on carbon offsetting.  The new directive comes amid widespread concern about the actual impact the voluntary carbon offset market has on reducing emissions.  This is being seen as a huge success for the environment, the climate and consumers, as it will ensure the way businesses market their products and services is more transparent, ultimately leading to a more informed consumer. Read more…



However, new regulations like the CSRD requirements and the stricter regulations surrounding environmental claims can actually lead to a phenomenon called “greenhushing”.  Many companies, even progressive ones, are afraid to talk about their work on climate change at all, deliberately hiding from new regulations and public scrutiny.  This is despite more money being poured into climate action than ever before. However, if businesses continue to keep hush about their green business practices, it can disincentivise other companies from taking and communicating climate action themselves. Read more…


And as if we need a reason to eliminate greenwashing, we showcase the Propane Education & Research Council (Perc), who are spending big on advertising to brand propane as a "clean energy solution for everyone".  Enabled by publishers who "prohibit advertising that is intentionally misleading, deceptive or contains false information", 25% percent millennial and gen Z consumers, now mistakenly consider natural gas to be renewable.  In case some of our readers are not aware, Propane is a fossil fuel commonly used for heating and cooking. Read more…


Capitalist systems and smart policies are increasingly being shaped to incentivise business away from pollution and to reduce carbon emissions without killing markets or competition. A new book, Climate Capitalism, claims the root of the climate crisis is “not capitalism, but the corruption of capitalism” profiles stories of success and failure that have helped people invent clean technologies, develop them into profitable products and build them at scale.  Examples where capitalism works, is the US Inflation Reduction Act and renewable generation subsidies in Europe. Read more…


Energy efficiency is ‘the first fuel’ in the transition to a greener future.  As well as committing to triple installed renewable energy generation capacity at COP 28, nearly 200 countries pledged to double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030.  That would raise it to over 4%.  Cutting back energy use is the cheapest, most effective way to save on bills, while also reducing carbon emissions. Efficient appliances, better building design and simple things such as eliminating leaks from buildings all help. Read more…


‘Green roads’ have big benefits and require modest investments.  Where roads and water intersect, trouble follows.  Roads cut off streams and bleed sediment; meanwhile, floods often erode roadbeds into muddy gullies.  With careful planning and placement of barriers, water can be diverted into ponds or runoff to farmland.  In southern Kenya, a study found that every $400 spent on low-tech tweaks increased farmers’ yields by around $1,000.  Primarily being used in developing nations, Western nations could benefit by incorporating ‘Green Road’ design in much the same way. Read more…


A US-based study spanning five years reveals that integrating solar farms with native grasses and flowers boosts insect biodiversity, particularly native bee populations, by up to 20 times.  Conducted at two solar farms in Minnesota, researchers observed a tripling of insect abundance and a 150% increase in diversity.  This approach not only enhances pollinator habitats but also mitigates land use conflicts, offering a promising solution to declining insect population and biodiversity and concerns over solar farm expansion on agricultural land.   Read more…


This article highlights examples of successful climate activism in 2023, illustrating how collective action can overcome powerful interests.  In Ecuador, activists' persistent efforts led to a referendum banning oil drilling in the Amazon, while UK campaigners pressured authorities to crack down on greenwashing ads by fossil fuel companies.  In the US, youth activists won a legal battle against Montana's anti-climate law, and in Massachusetts, community support helped launch the nation's first offshore wind project despite opposition.  These victories demonstrate the potential for grassroots movements to drive meaningful change in the face of environmental challenges.   Read more…





This week we have the following innovation articles we hope you find interesting:






Hydrology Report - 1 February 2024



Electricity Price Index - 1 February 2024



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Did you know: You can display your organisation’s sustainability data on your website or intranet using our carbon management software, e-Bench? Read more…



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