Daily Media Briefing 8th October

Daily Media Briefing

 

Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Human Rights, Policy & Research, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Investment

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October 08, 2012

Policy & Research

Companies warn Osborne on renewable power

Some of the best known companies in the UK, including Microsoft, Pepsi-Co and Marks and Spencer, have warned the chancellor, George Osborne, that mixed signals on green energy policy risk undermining investment. More than 50 companies, investors and industry bodies have written to the chancellor ahead of his speech to the Conservative party conference today urging greater clarity on the coalition’s commitment to a lower-carbon economy.  The letter called on Mr Osborne to back a 2030 target for decarbonising the electricity sector, saying “It is essential for government to provide investors with the long-term confidence they need to transform our electricity market and make investments capable of driving wider economic growth”.  (Financial Times*, Times*, BBC)

Employees

Foxconn hit by fresh outbreak of unrest at iPhone 5 factory

Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that makes products for Apple, has been hit by a second bout of labour unrest in less than two weeks. China Labor Watch, based in New York, reported that 3,000 to 4,000 workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, central China, went on strike on Friday over increased quality control demands and having to work during an extended national holiday. The Zhengzhou plant is one of two Foxconn factories in the country that makes the iPhone 5. However, in a statement on Saturday, Foxconn said production at the Zhengzhou plant continued without interruption. It denied any strike or work stoppage. Both Foxconn and Apple have refused to comment further on the dispute. (Financial Times*, New York Times, Reuters)

Platinum giant fires 12,000 striking South African miners

On Sunday, the world’s largest platinum producer followed through on its threat last week to dismiss striking miners and told 12,000 staff not to return to work amid escalating violence over pay. Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said that the miners had failed to appear before disciplinary hearings “and have therefore been dismissed in their absence”.  The company said that three weeks of illegal protests involving 28,000 workers had cost the business 700m rand (£50m) in lost profits after platinum production fell by 39,000 ounces.  About 80 percent of Amplats’ workforce at its mines in the northern town of Rustenburg took part in the action, forcing four mines to close. (Times*, BBC)

International Development

Africa's mineral wealth not reaching the poorest, says World Bank

Strong economic growth in the past decade among African countries rich in oil and minerals has failed to make a significant dent on their poverty levels, according to a World Bank report. ‘Africa's Pulse’, a twice-yearly analysis of Africa's economic prospects, noted that the decline in poverty rates in resource-rich countries has generally lagged behind that of countries without such resources. Some countries, such as Angola and Gabon, have even witnessed an increase in the percentage of the population living in extreme poverty. The report confirms the common perception that, to a large extent, the benefits of growth have not reached the poorest segments of society as a result of the so-called “resource curse”.  (Guardian)

Responsible Investment

CEO of Barclays calls for more ‘socially useful banks’

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins has said banks must become "socially useful" if they are to rebuild trust. Mr Jenkins took over from Bob Diamond, who resigned in the wake of the Libor rate-fixing scandal. Mr Jenkins' comments came as he launched a scheme to help small companies looking to export. Mr Jenkins said. "It goes back to what we do: if we serve customers and clients in a way that is socially useful, then we will rebuild that trust." Mr Jenkins has taken over at a difficult time for the banking group, which has seen its reputation severely dented. In June, Barclays was fined £290m by UK and US regulators for attempting to manipulate Libor, an interbank lending rate which affects mortgages and loans. (BBC)

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