Top Stories

March 25, 2015


Report: CSR communications on FTSE100 websites is subpar

The corporate websites of most FTSE100 companies are not communicating effectively, research from corporate communications consultancy Black Sun has revealed. The consultancy analysed the websites of the 100 companies and found that one in three did not even state what their business did on the homepage. The survey also notes that the websites fail to provide adequate information to key stakeholder groups. Whilst 80% of the FTSE100 companies have a corporate social responsibility section in the main navigation of the website, Black Sun said that the content of these sections, in many cases, fails to provide clear insights into the company’s approach, objectives and performance. Meanwhile, two-thirds of companies do not make a case for investment in the Investor Relations section, while fewer than half include positive reasons to work for the company in their Careers section. (3BL; PR Week)


Wells Fargo & Bank of America launch $1m water grant programmes

Two of the largest banks in the United States have taken steps to address the growing water disaster underway worldwide. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have each announced US$1 million commitments to water projects. Both companies are based in California, which is facing a worsening drought crisis. Bank of America has partnered with, a social enterprise that uses market-based solutions to expand access to water. Its $1 million grant will allow as many as 100,000 microloans for securing access to clean and safe water in India. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo has committed $1 million to Imagine H2O, an NGO that runs several programmes focused on entrepreneurs working on water-related technologies and innovations. According to Wells Fargo, the funds given to Imagine H2O are part of the bank’s programme offering a total of US$100 million by 2020 to non-profits and universities in order to boost the emerging “green” economy. (Triple Pundit)


FTSE 100 firms appoint more women to their boards

Britain’s top companies have made “enormous progress” on gender diversity by doubling the number of female directors, new figures indicate. Lord Davies, the former trade minister, said women now account for 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, up from 12.5% in 2011. The increase means that companies are on track to meet his 25% target for 2015. However, the latest statistics showed that smaller companies were less diverse at the top, with women accounting for just 18% of directors on the boards of FTSE 250 firms. A report by the Cranfield University School of Management says 41 firms in the FTSE 100 and 65 in the FTSE 250 have now met the 25% target. Drinks firm Diageo and Intercontinental Hotels Group jointly top the Cranfield ranking, with 45% female representation on their boards. (BBC News; The Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Monsanto seeks retraction for report linking herbicide to cancer

Monsanto, maker of the world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants the World Health Organization (WHO) to retract a report linking its chief ingredient to cancer. The company argues that the report, issued by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is biased and contradicts regulatory findings that the ingredient, glyphosate, is safe when used as labelled. A working group of the IARC, said after reviewing scientific literature it was classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto officials have asked to meet with WHO and IARC members, and Philip Miller, Monsanto vice president of global regulatory affairs, said the company wants a retraction. Miller said the IARC report should not affect the safety review of glyphosate currently under way by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the power to limit or ban use of glyphosate. (Thomson Reuters)


US coal sector in ‘terminal decline’, financial analysts say

The US coal sector is in a “terminal decline” which has sent 26 companies bust in the last three years, according to financial analysts. A report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative found that in the past five years the US coal industry lost 76% of its value. At least 264 mines were closed between 2011 and 2013. The world’s largest private coal company, Peabody Energy, lost 80% of its share price. Co-author Luke Sussams said the coal industry had been pummelled by cheap shale gas and a series of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, including the 30% cuts to carbon emissions announced by President Barack Obama last year. Andrew Grant, report co-author, said the report issued a warning that even without an international agreement on carbon emissions, the most carbon intensive sectors of the economy were risky investments. (The Guardian)


Image source: India – Faces – young woman helping with the chore of fetching water by McKay Savage/ CC BY 2.0