Top Stories

August 07, 2012

Corporate Reputation

Standard Chartered accused of hiding Iran dealings

New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) has accused Standard Chartered of hiding $250bn of transactions with the Iranian government, leaving “the US financial system vulnerable to terrorists, weapons dealers, drug kingpins and corrupt regimes”. The UK-based bank’s shares fell more than 6 per cent after DFS issued an order just before the London market closed on Monday, which included a threat to revoke the bank’s licence to operate in the state and called it a “rogue institution”. Among the Iranian clients were the Central Bank of Iran and two state-owned institutions, Bank Saderat and Bank Melli. In addition to the bank’s “systematic misconduct” with Iran, the department said it had evidence that Standard Chartered appeared to have conducted “similar schemes” with Libya, Myanmar and Sudan. Standared Chartered said in a statement that it “strongly rejects” the “portrayal of facts” in the DFS order, and that it had “acted to comply, and overwhelmingly did comply” with US sanctions. (Financial Times, p1)*


Social Investment

"Pay for success":  the new social impact financing tool

The news that Goldman Sachs is investing double digit millions in a New York city jail is heating up questions about ‘social impact bonds’ (SIBs), a "social good" financial tool to combat poverty, environmental issues and other social ills. Pay-for-success contracts, as they are sometimes known, allow governments to bid out social service projects and withhold payment until the project has been completed. Groups of investors raise capital to administer these projects and only receive payouts from the contracting agency if the project meets certain predetermined measurements of success. Although there is currently a lack of evidence of SIBs’ success (due to the short time period in which projects have been running: ~2 years), a working group comprising the Gates Foundation, Citigroup, USAID, World Bank, DFID, OPIC, Rockefeller Foundation, among others has discussed the future of SIBs in international development. (Global Envision)



Prototype of electric London black cab unveiled

The prospect of London's black cabs going electric has come a step closer with the unveiling of a prototype that will be trialled on the capital's streets as early as next year. Nissan has promised that its new London taxi, a van-like vehicle, can eliminate 20% of the capital's exhaust pollution caused by its 22,000 black cabs. However,  the carmaker warned that it was now down to politicians to make electric traffic a practical reality. (Guardian)

Funding incentive boost for Scottish businesses to reduce waste

An extra £100k has been added to the ‘Waste Prevention Innovation fund’ that encourages Scottish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to come up with environmental innovations to reduce waste and tackle greenhouse gas emissions. The support was launched by the government-financed organisation Zero Waste Scotland. Applicants who wish to develop ideas in product, service and packaging design which will significantly impact on waste reduction, have until October 31st 2012 to apply and grants will be awarded up to a maximum of £50,000. The projects include schemes realised by companies such as Celtic Renewables who are developing a patented fermentation technology to produce an advanced biofuel that can be used as a replacement for petrol. Another company, UWI Technology is market testing a smart label on selected food and drink products which will display the elapsed time from first opening of the product in an aim to reduce consumer food waste. Forecasts suggest that future innovation and technology developments could be worth an additional £8.4bn to Scotland's low-carbon industries by 2015 and create up to 100,000 jobs. (Edie)


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