Top Stories

July 11, 2014


Nando’s tax avoidance structure revealed 

Nando’s, the South African casual dining chain, has been found to have a secretive £750m trust located in a Channel Islands tax haven that sits at the top of an elaborate offshore structure of companies ultimately belonging to the family behind the chicken joint. The legal tax reduction techniques used mean that funds flow from the UK to companies in Malta, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Panama and the British Virgin Islands. The mechanisms in place significantly reduce the tax bill the company pays to the UK exchequer, as well as leaving the family at the top of Nando’s safe from inheritance tax. The news follows on from recent revelations into other high-profile tax avoiders including the owners of the Daily Mail, the Rothermere family, Easyjet’s founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and the inventor Sir James Dyson. (The Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Amazon sued for improper billing on app store purchases

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a suit against Amazon for ‘improperly’ billing customers for “many millions of dollars” of charges that children have made without their parent’s consent. In November 2011, Amazon’s mobile store introduced the ability to bill customers within an application, without prior notification or parental consent. This led to children downloading digital coins, tools and hints in order to progress through games downloaded from the Amazon app store. A similar case faced by Apple concerning its app store led to an agreement to ensure parental approval and pay a refund of $32.5 million to affected customers.  Last month, the FTC warned Amazon that they would sue, unless the company agreed to a consent order based on the Apple settlement.  Amazon has decided to defend itself in court believing the case has “very different facts”. Since March 2012, Amazon has made a series of changes such as an introduction of a password for charges over $20. However, it was not until June 2014 that Amazon tightened its in-app purchase programme to obtain informed parental consent. (New York Times)


Ford bumps Toyota as world’s greenest brand, survey shows

Ford has displaced Toyota as the world’s greenest brand, according to a ranking of businesses’ environmental behaviour. The Best Global Green Brands ranking had previously consistently put Toyota as the world’s greenest brand. The annual survey, conducted by Deloitte, looks at consumer perceptions in global markets, combined with data on how companies operate internally as well as how they report their environmental behaviour. Toyota’s fall from the top is attributed to a fall in transparency from previous years on non-product issues such as water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and business travel. Ford’s improvement has been attributed to better communications on environmental activities in its supply chain. The four greenest brands on the survey are all automakers, with Honda and Nissan coming in behind Ford and Toyota. (AutoNews)

Tetra Pak campaign to encourage greater commitment to renewable packaging

Tetra Pak, in its new campaign, is calling for increased industry awareness of the importance of the front end of the packaging life cycle, in particular the sourcing of renewable materials. The packaging company is calling on the consumer goods industry to prioritise renewables in its packaging requirements. As part of the kick-off to the campaign, called “Moving to the Front,” Tetra Pak has also released a white paper with WWF, outlining how using renewable resources creates value that can help businesses grow. Tetra Pak says businesses that commit to renewable sourcing practices will: realise business growth, manage and mitigate risks caused by geopolitical threats to sourcing more effectively, and build brand equity. A number of large consumer goods brands have taken their own initiative in this area. (Sustainable Brands)

Advocacy organisations back Vermont in suit against GMO labelling

With Vermont’s recent passage of a GMO labelling law, various advocacy organisations have announced that they will join the fight by filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit launched against Vermont by groups of national food manufacturers. A motion to intervene is normally filed when an organisation or person feels that they would be affected by the suit. Organisation members, as well as other stakeholders, are concerned about the possible health impacts of consuming GM foods, as well as a range of negative impacts on the environment linked to GM food production. Last week, a surprising addition joined the cause. Ben & Jerry’s,part of Unilever, announced that it would be temporarily renaming one of its products “in support of Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO-labeling law.” The company has a long history of supporting advocacy issues including GMO labelling laws. (Triple Pundit)



Image source: Nandos Food by Shovan Sargunam/ CC BY-SA 2.0