Policy & Research
US companies linking executive pay to sustainability
Intel, Xcel Energy, Alcoa, ING, National Grid, Shell and Suncor Energy are among the US companies tying executive compensation to sustainability performance, according to a report from The Conference Board, a non-profit research group. The report, Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance, says that shareholder support for sustainability proposals is growing year on year. It also cites a 2010 report by proxy advisory group Glass Lewis, which studied publicly traded companies in the US, the UK, Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands, finding that 29% of companies disclosed a link between compensation and sustainability.
Businesses taking an ambitious lead on sustainability in run-up to Rio
A small but prominent group of companies is now adopting ambitious green strategies requiring large outlays of money and a change to the way their businesses operate. Google has invested $915 million in renewable energy projects over the last two years, the parent of the Danish toy group, Lego, is spending around $500 million on a wind farm off the German coast, and Sweden's Ikea has a collection of wind farms located from Scotland to France and Germany. Executives are expected to account for one of the largest non-government groups at this month's Rio+20 sustainability summit, with many saying that companies are now at the vanguard of crafting initiatives.
Poll shows UK public wants wind farms
The UK Treasury is considering cuts of up to 25% in subsidies for on-shore wind farms after intense lobbying from countryside campaigners and rural Conservative MPs. Critics claim that the turbines cause significant noise pollution and would be economically unviable without such large government handouts. But a new poll reveals surprisingly strong public support for wind farms: 68% of the public believe that new wind farms are "an acceptable price to pay" for greener energy in the future, and turbines remain remarkably popular even among rural communities. The survey results run counter to recent developments which have seen conservation charities, such as the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, come out against the proliferation of wind farms in the countryside.
Calls for inquiry into unpaid jobseekers used as jubilee stewards
A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the UK's diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge. Up to 30 jobseekers and another 50 people on apprentice wages were taken to London by the security firm Close Protection UK as part of the government's Work Programme. Two jobseekers told the Guardian they had to change into security gear in public and had no access to toilets for 24 hours. The firm has issued "sincere apologies" for what it called the "London Bridge incident", but insisted that it had not been exploiting individuals but providing work experience. The former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott is urging the government to review the company's contract for the London Olympics.
Tesco supplier accused of contributing to Amazon rainforest destruction
British consumers are unwittingly contributing to the devastation of the Amazon rainforest by buying meat products from Tesco, according to Greenpeace. The environmental group says in a report that canned beef supplied to Tesco by JBS, one of the world's biggest food suppliers, has been found to contain meat from ranches sited on the lands of indigenous peoples or in illegally deforested areas. Tesco states that it began terminating all contracts with JBS more than a year ago, but that certain products may still remain in its supply chain. Other retailers including Sainsbury's, Asda and Ikea are also understood to have reviewed their relationships with JBS.