News briefs: S&P debuts two green indexes as renewables soar

Plus, BP's car chargers fail to deliver speedy profits, IKEA buys up forests and parts of Britain already hitting 2030 carbon targets

S&P debuts two new green indexes as renewables soar

In a sign of the power in the burgeoning green-industries sector, S&P Dow Jones Indices has announced it is launching two new ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) Indices, the S&P MidCap 400 ESG Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 ESG Index. In a press release, S&P Global said that the addition to its existing S&P 500 ESG Index will combine to form the S&P 1500 Composite covering 90% of U.S. market capitalization. S&P touted the new benchmarks as reflecting booming interest in ESG products, saying that assets under management tied to ESG funds nearly tripled from just under $60 billion to more than $170 billion last year alone and that small-cap ESG funds grew even faster with assets under management increasing by more than 260% in 2020.

BP’s electric car chargers fail to rev up speedy profits

British oil major BP (BP) has long touted its green credentials and investments, but now it’s finding the payoff isn’t always rapid, having just announced it has yet to turn a profit on its car-charging stations. “I would not say we are breaking profits in all spaces there,” Christian Girardeau, electrification director at BP, said at an energy summit in San Francisco, reported Bloomberg. The company has so far installed close to 10,000 chargers and has set a goal of 70,000 stations by 2030, with a big expansion effort in Europe and China, Girardeau added. The news comes despite BP having got a fast start by buying Chargemaster, the U.K.’s largest electric vehicle charging company at the time.

Way down in Georgia, IKEA is buying up forests for its furniture

If you use lots of wood, like furniture giant IKEA, you are likely to be criticized for adding to deforestation and accompanying effects such as destroying animal habitats and preventing carbon dioxide from being sucked from the air. And so the Sweden-based company has snapped up massive forest chunks in the U.S. and Europe, with its latest being 10,840 acres of protected land in the Altamaha River Basin area of Georgia, reports GlobalCitizen,org. IKEA bought the land from the nonprofit Conservation Fund and promised to prevent land fragmentation, restore tree species and protect animal habitats. Protection and enhancement of the longleaf pine tree and the rare gopher tortoise are among the priorities. IKEA now owns 613,000 acres of land in the U.S. and Europe, which it has pledged to manage in an environmentally sustainable way. “We are committed to managing our forests sustainably while at the same time meeting our business objectives,” said Krister Mattsson, managing director of IKEA’s holding company, Ingka Investments.

Hooray! Parts of Britain already hitting 2030 carbon targets

Britain, which has pledged the deepest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the Group of 20 nations, is already seeing promising results — some of its regions are hitting 2030 climate targets. In particular, areas with a strong presence of wind and nuclear power, such as southern Scotland and northern England, had the cleanest power mix last year, according to the Nuclear Industry Association, with the regions achieving the U.K.’s 2030 electricity decarbonization target on more than 85% of days. However, reports Bloomberg, the nation as a whole is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, with natural gas making up 60% of generation at times during the summer months and nuclear energy stymied by anti-nuke activists. Coal-powered electricity, though, is being completely phased out over the next three or four years, according to the report.