Daily Media Briefing 24th July 2012

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Policy & Research

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July 24, 2012


Africans urge China to help create sustainable development

African leaders and independent groups at this month’s China-Africa Forum in Beijing are pressing China to prioritise sustainable development in its trade with African countries. Chinese investments in environmentally sensitive sectors have spurred anti-Chinese sentiment in many African countries. Chinese mining projects have also caused serious environmental problems, and demand in Asia for rhino horn and ivory has spurred the illegal wildlife trade. As Chinese investments grow, environmentalists say sustainable development is essential to maintaining and improving ties with Africa. Jiaman Jin, executive director of the Global Environmental Institute, says Chinese government leaders are taking notice. “At first, [opposition to] these kinds of projects are about environmental dangers, but then that affects the diplomacy, politics and even the relationship between the two countries,” she said. (Voice of America)

Green sector sidelined by UK Treasury

Ministers at the UK Treasury have held meetings with representatives from energy-intensive sectors seven times more often than with green sector representatives since the coalition government was formed in 2010, according to a list of contacts released by the department. George Osborne, the chancellor, has not met a single "green" sector representative during his tenure, compared to eight meetings with oil companies and motoring lobbyists. The news comes during an ongoing row between the Treasury and the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Green businesses and campaigners have warned that Osborne’s demands for 2030 carbon and renewables targets to be scrapped, in exchange for sparing cuts to the onshore wind industry, could jeopardise tens of billions in investment and the creation of thousands of new green jobs. (The Guardian: 1, 2)

Policy & Research

‘No silver bullet’ to end City short-termism

Bold plans to sweep away a culture of short-termism in the City of London, which has been blamed for undermining company performance and reducing investor returns, will prove difficult to enact, some company bosses and asset managers warned. They fear recommendations in a 40,000-word year-long review by John Kay, a leading economist, are unrealistic because of the pressure on companies and investors to make short-term profits and outperform rivals. Michael McKersie, head of capital markets at the Association of British Insurers, said that some of the report's recommendations could prove “challenging to implement in practice.” However, it was Professor Kay who best captured the difficulty of bringing about a change of culture in financial markets. “Short-termism, or myopic behaviour, is the natural human tendency to make decisions in search of immediate gratification at the expense of future returns, decisions which we subsequently regret,” he wrote. “We speak and act in the heat of the moment, we eat and drink too much, and we do not save enough.” (Financial Times*)

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