Britain turns against tax avoiders
A collection of prominent Britons and British-based businessmen have come under attack for their involvement in complex tax avoidance schemes. A wave of criticism against tax avoidance has swept the country, sparked by an investigation by The Times newspaper which targeted public figures such as comedian Jimmy Carr. “I think the mood on this has changed,” Tony Blair, former prime minister, told the BBC. Maintaining the momentum next year, a sweeping law is set to overhaul the most contrived avoidance schemes. Meanwhile, Vodafone Group is facing a fresh tax furore after research claimed that the company has saved nearly £1 billion on UK tax payments over the past decade. "It may be legal, but it's completely immoral”, said Labour MP Margaret Hodge.
HP uses technology to revolutionise African healthcare
A revolutionary new project in Kenya gives health workers online access to lab results for infants who have been tested for HIV, dramatically cutting waiting times. Global technology company Hewlett-Packard (HP) is a partner in the project and has contributed five state-of-the-art data centres, giving the Kenyan government a modern IT infrastructure for the first time. HP’s move into what it calls “social innovation” in Africa includes other health-related projects, such as a system for tracking malaria outbreaks in Botswana. According to Paul Ellingstad, partnership and programme development director at HP, collaboration is key: “We believe that when you are talking about health and education, the government needs to be at the centre of any ecosystem of partners… There's an African saying: ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.’”
Leading companies move beyond sustainable packaging
The phrase ‘sustainable packaging’ is meaningless and should be phased out, according to a new report. Companies should take a “more balanced view” of efficient packaging across the supply chain, says Sustainable Packaging: Myth or Reality, which interviews senior representatives from companies including Diageo, Nestlé and P&G, as well as the UK’s Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) and Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN). Packaging only makes up around 5% of landfill waste and 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, and issues such as food waste and rise in consumption of products should be much bigger concerns, according to Jane Bickerstaffe, chief executive of INCPEN.
GRI unveils G4 draft reporting guidelines
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has issued a draft of its latest sustainability reporting guidelines, G4. The new proposed guidelines, under development since 2010, include several key changes, including new disclosures on governance, reporting boundaries and the supply chain, as well as a new structure designed to be offered through a web-based platform. The new guidelines also discontinue the ‘Application Levels’ for measuring transparency, introduced in G3, which the GRI says were misinterpreted by some users as an opinion on the quality of reporting.