What caught our eye this week
Bridging the gap between sustainability and finance

What caught our eye this week

Here are three stories that we found particularly interesting this week and why. We also give our lateral thought on each one.

  • Let's offer people warm homes.
  • Electric container ships for inland shipping.
  • D. tsuruhatensis: a new weapon in the fight against malaria?

Let's offer people warm homes.

We need to change hearts as well as minds. And we will do this with new narratives, with stories, not with facts and policies. We need shared objectives, not culture wars. And we need this now, more than ever.

As Rufus Grantham puts it in a recent blog post “we tend to start commentary about decarbonising the built environment with what we take to be an arresting and engaging fact about just how important this is (to us).

“The built environment makes up 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions…” or

“Reaching the UK’s legally mandatory Net Zero goals is critically dependent on improving energy efficiency and moving heating away from fossil fuels…”

And when we talk about policy, what we really mean, at least some of the time, is how do we force people to change their behaviours. Recent talk in the UK has been about forcing the replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps, or to limiting the ability to rent out or even sell properties below certain EPC grades.

Is this really the right way to reach people? Will it really give us the outcomes we want? Maybe instead our narrative should be about reducing the impact of the cost of living crisis, giving better access to affordable quality housing, contributing to better health, comfort, good jobs, security, helping to reduce poverty, and building community.

Let’s not offer people a negative, or even a positive technology, lets offer them warm homes.

Language is an important tool in driving the transitions and arriving at appropriate solutions. How we frame questions is important - something we discussed in a Perspective back in January.

Link to blog 👇🏾

Choose your words with care
Our choice of language can have important implications for how we think, react and problem solve. This crosses all disciplines from science, sociology, law, and pointedly, sustainability.

(Tranistions / Human Rights, Free to read!)


Electric container ships for inland shipping.

This week, COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry completed the floating of the first of two 700 TEU electric containerships being built for the company’s Yangtze regional operation. The vessels will have the largest installed battery capacity on a ship to date, with 36 replaceable containers acting as the power source along a 600-mile route to the sea. The batteries will be recharged at stations along the route. Sea trials will begin in late September. Construction on the second ship began in May.

Shipping is a big emitter of harmful gases. Regulation and innovation in fuels and how ships are powered is an important path to reducing that. Battery electric powered ships are one solution. Increasing efficiency is also a big help and has a cost advantage too. We wrote about the efficiency aspects in a recent blog.

Link to blog 👇🏾

Perspective: decarbonising shipping with the energy you don’t use
Shipping is a big emitter of harmful gases. Regulation and innovation in fuels is an important path to reducing that. Increasing efficiency is also a big help and has a cost advantage too.

(Greener energy applications, Professional)


D. tsuruhatensis: a new weapon in the fight against malaria?

Scientists from a GSK research lab in Madrid in conjunction with John Hopkins University have discovered a naturally occurring strain of bacteria which could reduce malaria transmission from mosquitoes to humans. The Spanish scientists discovered the Delftia tsuruhatensis TC1 bacteria could reduce a mosquito's parasite load by up to 73% by secreting a small molecule called harmane, which inhibits development of the parasite in the insect's gut. The compound could potentially be ingested orally by the mosquito or absorbed through its cuticle. Trials to assess its safety in the real world are currently taking place in Burkina Faso.

There were 670,000 deaths from malaria in 2020 with 96% of those in Africa and 80% of those deaths were children under five years old.

If the trials are successful, D. tsuruhatensis could be another weapon in the fight against malaria supplementing vaccination programmes and physical preventative measures such as mosquito nets. Earlier this year, Ghana becoming the first country to approve the R21/Matrix-M vaccine (developed at Oxford University), so we thought it was worth revisiting this Quick Insight from October last year where we discussed the promising results from a Burkina Faso trial last year which showed R21/Matrix-M gave 80% protection - higher than the World Health Organisation's target of 75% efficacy.

Link to blog 👇🏾

Quick Insight: an effective malaria vaccine at scale?
An important milestone in the fight to hold malaria at bay: The R21 vacccine.

(Built environment / Wellness, Premium and Professional)


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Please read: important legal stuff.

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