Top Stories

May 28, 2015

Corporate Reputation

Sponsors step up pressure on Fifa

World Cup sponsors have stepped up pressure on football’s governing body, Fifa, after US and Swiss authorities combined to charge current and former officials with racketeering, money laundering and fraud. Coca-Cola ,Visa, Adidas, Hyundai and McDonald’s were among several major sponsors to speak out. The accusations of “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption have sent shockwaves through the football world. Visa said its disappointment was “profound” and has threatened to reassess its sponsorship unless Fifa rebuilds a corporate culture with “strong ethical practices” at its heart. Coca-Cola said the scandal had “tarnished the mission and ideals” of the quadrennial tournament. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch warned Fifa’s next president to ensure future World Cup hosts comply with fundamental human rights norms following abuses in Russia and Qatar. (*; Guardian)


French companies to be forced to report on climate metrics

The French government is set to pass a law requiring listed companies to disclose financial risks related to climate change, and to report their impacts on the climate, including in the use of their goods and services. France would be the first major economy to pass such a law, further evidence that the country is taking significant steps to address climate change ahead of the Paris climate summit in December. Under the proposed legislation, the government will publish a carbon and climate risk stress-test report on the financial sector to be submitted by December 2016. The law will require institutional investors to disclose their carbon footprint and information about carbon and climate risks. Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate change secretary, told delegates at a Climate Finance Summit in Paris that the move was “a game changer”.  (Environmental Finance)


Queen’s Speech 2015: Energy security and climate change on the UK agenda

Collaborating with other nations to combat climate change and the release of a new Energy Bill to increase energy security in the UK were among the key announcements at the official State Opening of Parliament yesterday. In the presence of MPs, peers and other dignitaries in the House of Lords, Queen Elizabeth II set out the government’s legislative plans for the year ahead. The Queen gave just two mentions of energy and the environment in her 10-minute speech, to the disappointment of green groups and sustainability professionals alike. First, she said “measures will be introduced to increase energy security,” and later she stated that the new Tory Government “will seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change – including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year.” (Edie)


EU to continue Amazon investigation despite tax changes

The European Commission has said that it will push ahead with an investigation into Amazon’s past conduct in relation to tax, despite changes being announced by the multinational firm. Amazon has come under fire in recent years for its tax affairs, along with Google and Starbucks, for paying little tax in countries including the UK by declaring profits through subsidiary companies. Amazon has said that it will now declare profits in the countries that transactions are made, meaning that tax will be paid in those countries. Despite the announcement, the European Commission has said that it will still pursue an investigation involving illegal deals between Amazon and Luxemburg tax authorities. The EC’s competition spokesperson said, “These changes going forward do not affect the ongoing EU state aid investigation regarding the possible advantage that Amazon would potentially have received in the past through the tax ruling.” (Blue & Green Tomorrow)

Responsible Investment

Santander and Canadian pension funds launch green investment firm

Banco Santander has joined with two of Canada’s largest pension funds to invest in environmental projects, after the Spanish lender transferred $2 billion worth of assets into the new fund, called Cubico Sustainable Investment. Headquartered in London, Cubico officially launched today and will invest in renewable energy and water projects around the world.  The fund said it has “significant” capital to invest and has already transferred 19 wind, solar power and water assets, in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK from Santander into Cubico. The CEO of the newly-formed company, Marcos Sebares, said:  “Renewable and water infrastructure developments require decisive long-term investment and commitment… We have already built a strong pipeline of attractive assets to add to the platform and look forward to working with our partners over the coming years to consolidate Cubico’s position as one of the world’s leading renewable energy and water infrastructure investors.” (Business Green; Edie)


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Image Source: “Corinthians celebrate FIFA Club World Cup win” by Tomofumi Kitano / CC by 2.0