Top Stories

January 16, 2015


Report: “Half of Brits want jobs that change the world”

British people are dissatisfied with traditional business practices, according to a new report released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. 68 per cent of those surveyed by social change consultancy Global Tolerance agreed that “businesses, governments and non-profits all need to deliver more social and environmental change”. Three quarters of the 2,216 people surveyed wanted to see more transparency, and 81 per cent want more accountability. The report highlights the increasing importance of socially conscious values in determining how people spend their money, choose their jobs and relate to companies. Almost half of the UK workforce wants to work for a group that has a positive impact on the world. 44 per cent ranked meaningful work that benefits the world as a greater priority than a high salary, and 36 per cent say that they would work harder if their employer benefitted society. (The Guardian)

Social Impact

Facebook commits its social power to finding missing children

First established in the US as emergency broadcast system announcements for locating abducted children, AMBER Alert has expanded to numerous countries and forms of communication. Now, social media has joined the list of tech mediums supporting the program. On January 13, AMBER Alert Awareness Day, Facebook’s Trust and Safety Manager Emily Vacher announced that Facebook will now support location-targeted alerts from the agency. “We know the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the critical first hours,” Vacher stated in a press release. “Our goal is to help get these alerts out quickly to the people who are in the best position to help.” Facebook users have already used the social media site to spread the word about existing Amber Alerts, and it is hoped that the new delivery mechanism will help increase the number of children who are returned home. (PSFK)


Global Fortune 500 companies challenged to spend more CSR funds on education

Fortune 500 businesses spend 13 percent—$2.6 billion—of their $19.9 billion CSR budgets on education-related activities, with fewer than half of the 500 companies spending anything on education. These are the key findings of research by the Varkey Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dubai-based education company GEMS Education. The Foundation’s Business Backs Education campaign is challenging businesses to commit 20% of their global CSR budgets to education by 2020, the level that UNESCO suggests for governments. The study shows that from 2011 to 2013, the top ten Global 500 spenders contributed 42 percent of the total education-related corporate spending. Furthermore, most of the corporate education-spending is outside of areas that UNESCO has designated as education priorities, meaning only two in five dollars spent on education by the Global 500 is making its way to countries and groups who need it most. (Just Means; The Guardian)


“Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk” say scientists

Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found. Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a liveable planet for humans, with stark results. Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded “safe” levels: human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertiliser use. Prof Will Steffen, lead author of both studies, said the research showed the economic system was “fundamentally flawed” as it ignored critically important life support systems. (The Guardian)


Amazon Luxembourg tax ruling probably ‘constitutes state aid’, says European Commission

The European Commission (EC) has said that Luxembourg’s tax ruling practice in relation to the online retail giant, Amazon, probably “constitutes State aid”. The EC opened its investigation in October, focusing on whether Luxembourg broke EU state aid rules by agreeing a deal which allows Amazon to operate almost tax-free in Europe. The investigators concluded that it had. In October last year Amazon said in a statement: “Amazon has received no special tax treatment from Luxembourg; we are subject to the same tax laws as other companies operating here.” Luxembourg also disputed the investigation. Its finance ministry said in a statement: “Luxembourg is confident that the allegations of state aid in this case are unsubstantiated and that the Commission investigation will conclude that no special tax treatment or advantage has been awarded to Amazon.” (The Independent)



Image source: School-education-learning-1750587-h by woodleywonderworks / CC BY 2.0