Top Stories

July 02, 2014


UNGC urges businesses to press action against corruption

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) has launched a new initiative that petitions governments to implement anti-corruption practices and support good governance systems. The campaign, ‘Call to Action: Anti-Corruption and the Global Development Agenda’, marks the tenth year of the inclusion of the tenth UNGC principle, which is focused on anti-corruption. Corruption continues to be a critical challenge for businesses, noted UNGC Executive Director Georg Kell. “It was clear a decade ago – and remains today – that corruption so profoundly corrodes sound business practice and good governance, and thus our ability to realise the other nine principles,” he said. To join the campaign, businesses may submit a letter of intent signed by a C-suite level executive or Board Member responsible for corporate governance stating the company’s support to the ‘Call to Action’ and its commitment to prevent corruption in all its forms. (Eco-Business)

Human Rights

Amnesty International attacks ‘Big Four’ for opposition to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement

Amnesty International has accused the “Big Four” international accounting firms of acting in “bad faith” after they took out newspaper adverts in Hong Kong saying they were “opposed” to the former British colony’s pro-democracy movement. The human rights group joined sharp criticism of the move by Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte and KPMG to publicly state their opposition to the Occupy Central movement calling for electoral reform, which the adverts said threatened “the rule of law, the society and the economy of Hong Kong”. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents joined the annual 1 July demonstration yesterday to mark the surrender of the territory to Chinese control in 1997. The audit firms’ statement, which suggested corporations might leave Hong Kong because of such a demonstration, has been condemned by campaigners and academics. Mabel Au, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, told reporters: “Amnesty considers the advert an act done in bad faith… Business considerations do not take precedence over human rights”. (The Independent)


Former executive sues Tinder for sexual harassment

A former executive at startup Tinder has sued the popular dating app and its parent IAC, claiming she was sexually harassed and discriminated against before being forced out. Whitney Wolfe, an early employee and former vice president of marketing, alleges a “frat-like” atmosphere, where it was common for male executives to use racist and sexist terms. The suit also accuses Tinder’s CEO, Sean Rad, of using such language and ignoring her complaints. The case comes at a particularly sensitive time for the booming technology industry, which has been criticised for being insensitive or hostile to women. Earlier this year, a female employee of GitHub, a San Francisco-based startup, also lobbed serious allegations of gender harassment, prompting an internal inquiry. Last month, the CEO of Snapchat apologized for explicit emails that he sent in 2009 and 2010 as a Stanford University student and which were demeaning to women. (Wall Street Journal)


Governments and retailers told to prioritize better ‘cold-chains’ to cut food wastage in developing countries

Better refrigeration equipment could help cut food wastage by a quarter in developing countries according to a new study. The report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) calls for urgent action to encourage the roll out of a sustainable cold and frozen supply chains in the developing world, which it says could prevent unnecessary food loss, help alleviate hunger and improve global food security. It estimates that about 25% of food wastage in the developing world could be eliminated with better refrigeration equipment. Dr Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the IMechE, said: “Governments and aid agencies simply funding the production of more and more food which is then spoilt and discarded is a poor use of the money… Donor Governments, like the UK and USA, NGOs involved in development initiatives and retailers establishing supply chains, need to prioritise investment into affordable, reliable and sustainable cold chain infrastructure.” (2Degrees)


Singapore Airlines ends shipments of shark fins

Singapore Airlines has bowed to pressure from conservationists by agreeing to end cargo shipments of shark fins. The city state’s national airline said it considered “increasing concerns” about the shark fin trade. The airline had been threatened with a protest by 350 shark fin protesters at its check-in counters in Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur. At least five airlines have followed Cathay Pacific‘s lead in restricting or banning shark fin shipments over the past two years, with Korean, Asiana, Qantas and Air New Zealand enforcing a blanket ban. Conservationists celebrated Singapore’s move, including Hong Kong-based WildLifeRisk director Alex Hofford, who led the campaign. “We are delighted at Singapore Airlines’ commendable decision to stop shipping shark fin,” he said. “It’s a really significant victory by taking out one more link in the supply chain to Hong Kong.” (South China Morning Post)


Image source: #OccupyCentral, Hong Kong by Natasia Causse / CC BY 2.0