Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Governance, Human Rights, Strategy, Sustainable Investment

Top Stories

April 15, 2016

Human Rights

Ruggie Report: FIFA must protect human rights or move world cup from Qatar

Soccer’s embattled world governing body must make human rights one of its primary goals, on a par with promoting the sport and making money, according to the Harvard professor and former UN official John Ruggie. The independent report, commissioned by FIFA, comes as Qatar faces mounting international criticism for its treatment of migrant labourers working on World Cup-related construction projects. The report urges FIFA to abide by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (‘Ruggie Principles’) and concludes with 25 explicit recommendations, praising FIFA for making a start in addressing the situation by commissioning the report. According to Ruggie, FIFA’s human rights responsibilities go beyond the issues related to tournaments. Among others, he mentions the risks to workers’ rights in FIFA’s own supply chain, alleged trafficking of young players and “endemic” discrimination against women in world football. He also calls for FIFA to invest more resource in tackling the issue. (Huffington Post; Guardian; Thomson Reuters Foundation)


Mars Food launches global Health and Wellbeing Ambition; will label “everyday” and “occasional” foods

Mars Food has announced a new global Health and Wellbeing Ambition to create and promote healthier food choices. The initiative will roll out over the next five years and will focus on areas such as improving nutritional content, providing consumers with more nutrition information, inspiring consumers to cook healthy meals, and providing Mars Food Associates with access to nutrition education, cooking and fitness facilities, and healthier food options. As part of the initiative, the company is to release a list of “occasional” products – those to be enjoyed once per week – and a list of “everyday” products. Brands including Uncle Ben’s, Masterfoods and Dolmio will all be included. “Cooking and eating healthy meals at home is central to health and wellbeing, and we believe our brands should inspire our consumers to come together over a healthy meal,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales. (Mars)


Shareholders revolt against boardroom excessive pay packages

Britain’s top bosses were sent a warning on Thursday that they must rein in boardroom excess when shareholders voted overwhelmingly against huge pay deals at two of Britain’s biggest companies. Almost 60 percent of shareholders voted against a £14 million pay package for the chief executive of BP in a year in which it reported record losses, cut thousands of jobs and froze its employees’ pay. Just hours later, more than 50 percent of investors voted against pay deals at the medical equipment group Smith & Nephew. After scenes recalling the 2012 “shareholder spring” when several major companies faced rebellions over pay, the Institute of Directors said companies must respond to shareholders’ anger or risk discrediting the wider business community. BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told the meeting that the board would listen to shareholders’ views while the chair of the company’s remuneration committee promised to review its executive pay structure.  (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

GreatFire activist urges western firms to help end Chinese censorship

Western companies need to end their hypocrisy over free speech in China and start helping to end censorship in the country, according to a leading anti-censorship activist. One of the three co-founders of GreatFire, an organisation dedicated to fighting the so-called ‘Great Firewall of China’, said it hurts to see companies such as Apple citing Chinese censorship in their battles with western governments, while co-operating with authoritarian state in order to earn money from its burgeoning middle classes and take advantage of its enormous manufacturing base. The activist, who goes by the pseudonym Charlie Smith, listed Apple and LinkedIn amongst his personal villains. In contrast, he praised Wikipedia and Github for their principled stands against censorship. He also praised Google for their decision in 2010 to stop censoring search results and pull out of mainland China. The praise for Google was tempered with caution, however, due to reports that the company might be re-entering the Chinese market to sell smartphone apps. (Guardian)

Responsible Investment

World’s biggest wealth fund excludes 52 coal-related groups

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has excluded 52 coal-related companies in line with new ethical guidelines barring it from investing in such groups. The move was seen as a sign of the growing influence investors wield in the fight against climate change. In June 2015, the Scandinavian country’s parliament agreed to pull the fund out of mining or energy groups which derive more than 30 percent of their sales or activities from the coal business, which went into effect on 1 February. The fund has banned mainly US and Chinese companies, including China Coal Energy, AES, and Peabody Energy, the biggest US coal producer which filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday. The list also includes several Indian companies, such as Reliance Power and Tata Power, three Japanese groups and several European companies. The world’s three biggest coal makers – Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore – are not affected by the new rules because their other mining activities are so massive that their coal businesses represent less than 30 percent of their overall revenues. (Guardian)


Image source: London Olympic Stadium construction Spring 2010 by Lisa / CC BY-SA 2.0