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Unilever’s Jope Says Biden Win Is Boost for Climate: NEF Update

(Bloomberg) — The third day of the four-day Bloomberg New Economy Forum is focusing on the many challenges posed by climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and an unstable global economy.European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered the opening address at the meeting, which brings together leaders from government, finance and industry. Also participating in the program are former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, Guggenheim Partners co-founder Scott Minerd and the chief executive officers of companies including HSBC Holdings Plc, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Unilever NV, Iberdrola SA and Suntory Holdings Ltd.The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. More information can be found online at www.neweconomyforum.com and on the Bloomberg terminal.Allbirds CEO Says Consumers Want to Buy Sustainable Products (9:25 a.m. NYT)Shoppers care about sustainability and want to buy sustainable products, but they’re confused about what it all means, said Joey Zwillinger, CEO of sustainable shoemaker Allbirds Inc. That’s a consistent theme he’s seen across markets in Asia, Europe and North America.“I really do sense that people want to do the right thing,” Zwillinger said. “Once we clear up some of the confusion on what does carbon footprint even mean, I think we’ll start to see even more progress.”It wasn’t like that back when Allbirds was founded in 2015, he said. When it came to actually shelling out dollars for a product at the cash register, consumers would prioritize the product over all else. That’s been shifting in recent years, as people care more about how things are made and how it affects the climate.It took the company almost three years to develop a shoe sole that was sustainable, made from sugar-cane byproducts rather than the typical petrochemicals. — Kim BhasinUnilever’s Jope Says Biden Win Is Benefit for Climate (9:07 a.m. NYT)Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election is positive for companies committed to fighting the climate crisis, Unilever Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope said.“The capital markets and investors need to invest in properly run sustainable and green businesses,” Jope said. “In that regard, an administration in the biggest economy in the world that reenters the climate-change debate and a green recovery of course is going to be good for the system.”Jope also reiterated earlier comments that the “most important” measure governments should take in the near-term is pricing carbon, either through a cap-and-trade mechanism or a carbon tax. Unilever is working with Microsoft Corp. to build a digital model of the planet that will enable the company to label the carbon footprint of each of the products sold under its more than 400 brands, which include Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Domestos bleach.Information relating to issues such as deforestation and social impact will either feature directly on the label or will be accessible online via a QR code, Jope said in the interview with Bloomberg News’s Francine Lacqua. — Thomas BuckleyIndia Takes Steps Toward Carbon Neutral, Tata’s Chandrasekaran Says (8:55 a.m. NYT)Becoming carbon neutral by 2050 isn’t as straightforward for a country like India as it is for other countries and regions, said Tata Sons Ltd. Executive Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran. Energy consumption will raise over the next few years as the country becomes the world’s third-largest economy, and so will its carbon footprint.The country is on track to fulfilling its 2015 Paris Agreement commitments by increasing the presence of renewable power in its grid, setting up micro grids and investing in electric vehicles.“While the commitment might not be by 2050, the point is that India is taking very aggressive steps,” Chandrasekaran said. — Laura Millan LombranaIMF’s Gopinath Pushes for Carbon Tax to Drive Green Recovery (8:46 a.m. NYT)Harnessing energy sources that are cheaper than fossil fuels “isn’t enough” to drive a green recovery, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said.More important is a carbon tax, which should be “set up small but then increase over time to change consumer behavior” and incentivize the private sector to invest in renewables, she said.In addition, carbon pricing is one of the most efficient ways to transition toward a low-carbon economy, but countries setting up carbon markets on their own won’t be enough, Gopinath said.“There has to be cooperative solution here,” she said. “Agreeing on a minimum carbon price globally would be very helpful in bringing about that transition.” — Laura Millan Lombrana and Thomas BuckleyAnheuser-Bush Makes Big Push Into Renewable Energy (8:39 a.m. NYT)The pandemic hasn’t changed beverage manufacturer Anheuser-Busch InBev’s plans to source 100% of the energy in its operations from renewable energy in 2025, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito said.About 60% of the company’s volume now is made using renewable power; it was zero two years ago.The current situation has taught the company that it needs to take care of its supply chain, which includes farmers and retailers, Brito said.“Farmers need to be competitive in this world where water is going to be more scarce and productivity will be top of mind for everybody,” he said. — Laura Millan LombranaIMF’s Gopinath Sees Opportunity for Green Recovery in 2021 (8:25 a.m. NYT)Most coronavirus stimulus spending this year has been focused on saving lives, but there’s an opportunity to have a green recovery in 2021, said Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.So far, a total of $161 billion of support measures have been made to cut emissions since the pandemic started, according to BloombergNEF research. By comparison, $878 billion will go into stimulus for carbon-intensive industries without green conditions.“I am hopeful more will be done –2021 is the year when this should happen,” Gopinath said. “We know green investment is more job intensive and it can help in that dimension.” — Laura Millan LombranaVon der Leyen Says EU Wants to Lead Green Recovery (8:11 a.m. NYT)Europe wants to spearhead a sustainable global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by investing more than a third of its 750-billion-euro ($890 billion) economic stimulus in projects compatible with the bloc’s climate neutrality goal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.The world can’t afford to make the same mistake that it did in the last financial crisis when it rebuilt a “broken system” based on fossil fuels, Von der Leyen said. The 27-nations European Union has designed its latest strategy to combat the recession around the Green Deal, a sweeping overhaul that will accelerate pollution cuts, promote emissions-free cars and spur low-carbon energy technologies such as hydrogen.“We need to use our recovery stimulus to invest in the clean and digital technologies of the future to make our economies more resilient and our societies and job markets fairer,” Von der Leyen said. “We can do it if we do it together. You can count on Europe to lead the way.”The Green Deal, which calls for Europe to zero-out greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century, will affect every corner of the economy, from agriculture and energy production to how cities are designed. To help kick-start the clean shift, 37% of the EU’s 750-billion-euro recovery fund will be spent on projects linked to the Green Deal. — Ewa KrukowskaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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