ESG International Weekly News 5/29-6/4
1.Toyota Scales US EV Plans with New $2 Billion Battery Plant Investment
Toyota has announced plans to significantly increase its electric vehicle (EV) operations in the U.S. by investing an additional $2.1 billion in its North Carolina battery plant, nearly doubling its initial investment. The plant will produce lithium-ion batteries for Toyota's growing lineup of electrified vehicles, with production expected to start in 2025. This move follows Hyundai's recent announcement to invest over $5.5 billion in its first U.S. EV and battery plant. Several other automotive leaders, including GM, Ford, BMW, Honda, and Stellantis, have also announced significant investments in EV and battery capacity recently. These investments align with President Joe Biden's executive order mandating that half of new vehicle sales in the U.S. be zero-emission vehicles by 2030.
2.Hyundai, LG Energy Launching $4.3 Billion EV Battery Plant to Meet “Soaring” U.S. Demand
Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution have announced a joint venture to build a $4.3 billion EV battery plant in Bryan County, Georgia. The facility, which will have the capacity to support the production of 300,000 vehicles per year, will be adjacent to Hyundai's first full-electric vehicle facility in the U.S. This investment is part of a series of major automotive industry announcements intended to boost EV and battery capacity in response to President Joe Biden's 2021 executive order, which mandates that half of new vehicle sales in the U.S. should be zero-emission vehicles by 2030. LGES, now focusing most of its resources on expanding battery production capacity in the U.S., has seven battery plants in operation or under construction, including a $4.4 billion joint venture with Honda launched earlier this year.
3.Delta Hit with Greenwashing Lawsuit over Carbon Neutrality Claims
Delta Air Lines faces a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company falsely claimed to be "carbon neutral" in its advertising and promotional activities. The plaintiff, a Delta passenger, argues that the airline's use of the voluntary carbon market to offset its emissions undermines its claim of carbon neutrality, due to concerns over the market's credibility. The suit asserts that the plaintiff paid a premium for Delta's services based on a misrepresentation of the company's ecological impact. Delta responded that it has committed to carbon neutrality and is transitioning its efforts toward decarbonization rather than relying on carbon offsets. This lawsuit comes amidst increasing scrutiny of corporations' environmental sustainability claims and concerns over "greenwashing."
4.$29 Trillion Investor Group Urges High Impact Companies to Disclose on Environmental Impact
Nearly 300 financial institutions, representing nearly $29 trillion in assets, are urging some of the world's most environmentally impactful companies, including Exxon, Chevron, and Caterpillar, to disclose environmental data. The disclosure request, coordinated by CDP, targets companies that have previously failed to respond to such requests. CDP's environmental disclosure system allows stakeholders to measure and track organizational performance in key areas such as climate change, deforestation, and water security. The current campaign has attracted a record 288 financial institutions, targeting over 1,600 companies across 51 countries. According to CDP, more investors are joining the campaign as mandatory disclosure regulations approach in various regions.
5.EU Parliament Votes to Require Companies to Introduce Climate Transition Plans
The European Parliament has voted in favor of new rules requiring companies to identify and address their impacts on human rights and the environment. These rules form part of the EU Commission's proposed corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD), and they apply to company operations, subsidiaries, and value chains. The legislation initially targets companies with over 500 employees and more than €150 million in revenue. One key change is the requirement for companies to implement climate transition plans in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and to perform due diligence on climate impacts. The rules also call for sanctions and supervisory mechanisms for non-compliance.