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Sustainability Snapshot

Welcome to the latest edition of our Sustainability Snapshot newsletter, exploring developments from the world of technology that caught our attention over the last month.

A new Green Economy Index, created by the ScaleUp Institute, has mapped out the 282 fast-growing environmentally friendly companies in the UK. Collectively they employ 44,000 people and had a combined turnover in their latest year of trading of £9 billion. It’s important these kind of businesses get as much visibility as possible to attract new talent and funding, helping to power Britain’s green economy. 

Big tech companies also made major commitments to the environment, as Tesla announced it will no longer accept Bitcoin over climate concerns and Snap released a new climate strategy to help the business reach its goal of carbon neutrality.  

Check out more of what we’ve been reading and watching below…

UK invests in green technology 

The UK government has committed £166 million to developing green technology as part of its 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The funding package will help to develop technologies in carbon capture, greenhouse gas removal and hydrogen, whilst also researching solutions to decarbonise the UK’s polluting sectors. 

Is tech enough though?

And yet despite making huge strides in green technology, anthropologist Pete Sutoris argues that “the climate crisis requires a new culture and politics, not just new tech”. In an opinion piece for The Guardian, he notes that in order for new technology to make a real impact on the climate crisis, we must first rebuild our relationship with the planet. 

Power to the people

But how can we make a change? Following the members of the UK’s first ever Citizens Assembly on climate change – a new government initiative that tasked 108 ordinary Brits with deciding what we should do to meet our climate change goals – the BBC explores the different ways that climate change is impacting our everyday lives. 

What role could AI play? 

“More and more businesses are turning to AI to become more sustainable, smarter and to better react to changing market conditions, as well as to ensure health, safety and social impact of our planet”, writes Forbes Contributor Mark Minevich, as he explores the ways AI is benefitting society, from combating cancer to eliminating food hunger. 

Tougher recycling rules 

The importance of recycling technology products has once again come into focus, as industry experts call for tougher rules on recycling following an EU funded report. They say that recycling should be mandatory when it comes to products that contain the rare metals that are vital for the production of low-carbon technology. 

Banking goes green 

Meanwhile, research from Censuswide has revealed that almost three quarters of all UK banks are now using digital technology to make their business operations greener. The report also highlighted the commercial benefits of implementing sustainable banking initiatives, with 40% of those surveyed reporting cost savings and increased customer retention. 

COP 26

Sir David Attenborough has stated that it will be ‘crucial’ for nations to come together at COP26 to find a solution to the ‘crippling’ climate breakdown, after being named as the summit’s ‘People’s Advocate’. Ahead of talks, Alok Sharma, President of COP26, has also called on nations to ban the use of coal describing it as ‘old technology’. 

And finally – Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Scotland will be ramping up its efforts to fast track a new electric bike courier scheme in time for the climate change conference.