Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Technology & Innovation, Uncategorized

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July 17, 2017

Brexit

Brexit: Green community condemns ‘environment-shaped hole’ in Repeal Bill

The Government’s bill to convert EU regulations into British law has faced criticism from MPs and green groups such as Green Alliance, for failing to ensure that environmental protections will be maintained post-Brexit. The ‘Repeal Bill’ outlines the UK’s intentions to annul the 1972 European Communities Act which gives EU law instant effect in the UK. The bill will also transpose all EU law into UK law to prevent a legal vacuum. In order to successfully incorporate EU law into UK law, the Government insists that “corrections” will only be made where necessary in order to facilitate this process.  However, with 80% of the UK’s green regulations deriving from EU law, environmental advocates fear that the Bill does not make guarantees to carry across key environmental standards. . Alongside the bill, the Government issued a briefing document on environmental protection which, despite reiterating its commitment to develop a new 25-Year Plan for the environment, does not provide a timeframe for the release of this plan, suggesting it could be delayed until after Brexit. (Edie*)

Environment

HSBC triggers investigation into Palm Oil Company over deforestation allegations

HSBC has triggered an investigation into Noble Plantations following allegations the company was preparing to clear 18,000 hectares of rainforest in Papua for oil palm cultivation. In a decision hailed as a first by a major bank, HSBC has asked the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO),, to investigate the claims. The move follows pressure from campaigning organisations Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace, which last month wrote to four banks, including ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank, linked to a new £580 million bond issued by commodities giant Noble Group. Campaigners say banks have traditionally lagged behind companies when it comes to supporting ethical palm oil practices, but Greenpeace says HSBC is the first to demonstrate that the bank is taking its palm oil policy seriously as it announced a stricter lending policy based on a “no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” commitment. (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Google pays academics millions to support its business and policy goals

Search giant Google paid millions of dollars to academics from the world’s most prestigious universities including Stanford, Harvard, MIT and Oxford for favourable academic research to support its business and policy goals, claims U.S watchdog Campaign for Accountability (CfA). Most of the academic papers examined discuss policy and legal issues of critical importance to Google’s bottom line, including antitrust, privacy, search neutrality, patents and copyright. CfA said that the papers had broad reach and may have influenced policymakers unaware of its sponsorship. It also stated that the Google-funded studies often blurred the line between academic research and paid advocacy by the company’s consultants. The largest number of such studies was published in 2012, when the Federal Trade Commission and European regulators started antitrust investigations, putting the company’s business model under threat. (Financial Express)

Diversity

UK companies doubt gender pay gap disclosure will solve problem

Fewer than 50% of UK companies think the requirement to publish their gender pay gap will have any impact on closing it, according to new research. Even those who agree with the principle believe the metric could misrepresent their efforts to increase the diversity of their workforce. Public, private and voluntary sector organisations with more than 250 employees and all government departments must publish the pay and bonus gaps between male and female staff by April 2018. The requirement covers about 9,000 employers with 15 million staff, about half the UK workforce. Among the 165 UK companies researched, 48 were in the FTSE 350. The findings suggest that companies are under-prepared and unenthusiastic about the legislation’s impact. Although 30% of the companies have completed the work necessary to gather the data required by the government, just 28 employers have registered their data on the government website. (Financial Times)*

Technology & Innovation

Scientists develop sustainable spider silk in green materials breakthrough

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed an eco-friendly synthetic spider silk that could pave the way for super-strong textiles and flexible sensors. Made at room temperature, using a hydrogel composed of 98% water and small amounts of silica and cellulose, it is the first synthetic spider silk that does not require an energy-intensive manufacturing process or harmful solvents to produce. Scientists have been working for years on an artificial version, which could be used for a range of applications, from textiles to biomedical applications such as flexible sensors. Researchers said this artificial version is not as strong as natural spider silk but is still stronger than natural silk fibre. It is also impressively stretchy, capable of holding large amounts of energy and absorbing impacts, which could allow it to be used in cycling helmets or other protective sportswear. (Business Green)

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Image Source: Jukwa Village Palm Oil Production in Ghana by oneVillage Initiative at Flickr. CC 2.0

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