Daily Media Briefing 29th August

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Governance, Human Rights

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August 29, 2012

Corporate Reputation

Mining giant's AGM under siege over rights abuses

Vedanta Resources, the London-based mining giant accused of social and environment abuses at its sites in India, came under sustained attack at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday as big institutional investors echoed the complaints of eco-activists demonstrating outside. Vedanta iron ore and copper mines are blamed for causing community displacement, toxic floods and other major pollution incidents. Representatives of institutional investors Aviva and Standard Life – both holding millions of Vedanta shares – stood up to question company policies including its commitment to sustainability and the appointment of a new non-executive director, Geoffrey Green, with no relevant experience.  (The Independent)

Paralympic sponsor engulfed by disability tests row

More than 40 doctors and nurses working for major Paralympics sponsor Atos have been reported to medical regulators for professional misconduct amid growing concerns that disabled people are being wrongly deprived of benefits. The General Medical Council has 16 current complaints about Atos doctors, 12 of which relate directly to their role in the much-maligned benefit assessments.  The revelations come as protesters led by Disabled People Against Cuts prepare to hold a vigil outside the Atos’ UK head office today to commemorate those who died last year after being declared fit for work. An Atos spokesperson said: "We do not make decisions on people's benefit entitlement or on welfare policy but we will continue to make sure that service that we provide is as highly professional and compassionate as it can be." (The Independent)



Australian and EU carbon markets to be linked

It has been announced that Australian and European carbon markets will be linked in 2015, creating the world's biggest emissions trading market. This link “reaffirms that carbon markets are the prime vehicle for tackling climate change and the most efficient means of achieving emissions reduction," said Greg Combet, Australia minister for climate change and energy efficiency. "It means the EU price will drive the Australian price and that will effectively be the floor price in our system too," he said. The European commisioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, welcomed the announcement: "it is further evidence of strong international co-operation on climate change and will build further momentum towards establishing a robust international carbon market." (The Guardian Environment)

Ski lifts help open $25 billion market for storing power

Siemens, RWE, General Electric (GE) and a startup backed by billionaire Bill Gates, are researching how to store surplus electricity from power plants and use the momentum of ski lifts to produce electricity. In times of excess power and low demand, systems can squeeze air into underground caverns. When this air is released, it drives a generator via a turbine above ground, to produce electricity. The technology is predicted to build a market for utilities set to attract $25 billion in annual investment within a decade. “Energy storage solutions will catalyse growth in the market for renewable energy by enabling its use in greater volumes and in new applications,” said Gil Forer, Ernst & Young’s clean-tech head in New York. (Bloomberg)



Gender equity: new standard by UN Women & SAI

Social Accountability International (SAI), in partnership with United Nations organisation UN Women, have finalised the ‘Gender Equity Seal’ (GES) as a new auditable standard and certification system. The GES provides a 'gender lens'- a specialised standard -that can be easily integrated into a company's standard audit whether against an external or company code. In addition to performance criteria, GES details specific criteria for policies, procedures, training and other management systems components. It is anticipated that GES will primarily be used on a business to business level with the potential for expansion to a consumer label. Currently, the standard is publicly available, and companies can use it to benchmark their existing systems and performance. (SAI)