Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Policy & Research, Tax

Top Stories

April 21, 2016


San Francisco requires new buildings to install solar panels

San Francisco has passed landmark legislation requiring all new buildings to be fitted with rooftop solar panels. The new rule makes the metropolis the largest city in the US to mandate solar installations on new properties. From January 2017 all new buildings in the city with ten floors or fewer must have either solar PV or solar thermal panels installed. The measure builds on existing Californian state law which requires all new buildings to have at least 15 percent of their roof space exposed to sunshine, in order to allow for future solar panel use. Supervisor Scott Weiner, who introduced the legislation, said the new measure would put San Francisco at the forefront of the US fight against climate change. “In a dense, urban environment, we need to be smart and efficient about how we maximise the use of our space to achieve goals such as promoting renewable energy and improving our environment,” he added. (Business Green)



France bills McDonald’s for €300 million in unpaid tax

McDonald’s France has been sent a bill for alleged unpaid taxes, as part of a crackdown by French authorities on multinational companies that shift their profits abroad. According to people familiar with the case, the French finance ministry has taken issue with the amount of money McDonald’s France paid to a Luxembourg-based affiliate for services, including its use of the fast-food restaurant brand name, which helped to reduce McDonald’s taxable profits in the country. McDonald’s France declined to comment on reports of the bill, which could be as high as €300 million, including €100 million in fines. Instead, the company said in statement: “McDonald’s is one of the biggest taxpayers in France and we are proud of it.” It added that McDonald’s and its franchises had paid €1.2 billion in taxes since 2009, invested €1 billion and created more than 15,000 jobs in France. France’s finance ministry declined to comment on the matter, pointing out that it was governed by tax secrecy rules. News of the tax bill, which first appeared in French business magazine L’Expansion, follows a European Commission investigation into a deal that McDonald’s struck with tax authorities in Luxembourg. (Financial Times*)


Corporate Reputation

EU accuses Google of using Android to skew market against rivals

The EU has accused Google of skewing the market against competitors with its Android mobile operating system. Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, said the European commission had taken the preliminary view that Google had abused its dominant position, following an initial one-year investigation. “The commission is concerned that Google’s behaviour has harmed consumers by restricting competition and innovation,” she added.  The company has 12 weeks to respond to the commission’s charge sheet, known as a statement of objections. The full investigation is likely to last many months. If Brussels upholds the complaint, Google could be fined up to $7.4 billion, the equivalent of ten percent of its global revenue. Google has mounted a robust defence of its open-source Android operating system and argues that users are free to delete Google apps. In a statement the internet corporation said its business model “keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices”. (Guardian)



DiversityInc reveals 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity

DiversityInc revealed the 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Kaiser Permanente, the healthcare giant took the top spot on the list. More than 1,800 companies participated in the survey this year. DiversityInc assesses the companies’ performance based on four key areas of diversity management: talent pipeline, equitable talent development, CEO/leadership commitment and supplier diversity. Kaiser Permanente success was followed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and EY. Other companies ranking in the top 15 are: MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, Procter & Gamble and Abbott. In addition, DiversityInc also announced specialty lists, including the Top Companies for Opportunity, a new list recognising companies that, because of factors such as location and industry, do not have competitive diverse representation but demonstrate fairness in hiring and promotion, high potentials, retention and nurturing. Southern Company ranked first on this list and number 46 on the Top 50 in its debut on the ranking. (DiversityInc I; II)



New parliamentary group to examine ‘limits to growth’

A new cross-party group of MPs was launched to explore the so-called “limits to growth”. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Limits to Growth, which was formed in February but had its official launch this week in Westminster, plans to encourage debate and assess evidence on whether or not placing excessive demands on ecological systems could lead to a collapse of production and living standards. The group is chaired by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and co-chaired by SNP MP George Kerevan and Labour MP Daniel Zeichner, and includes seven other parliamentarians from the Conservative, Labour and Green parties as well as three crossbench peers. “This is for us, I think, a beginning of a conversation in parliament about how we begin to get these concepts more widely understood in parliament, and what we can do here in this house to try to advance them,” said Lucas. The launch was marked by the release of a new report reviewing and updating the debate around the infamous and controversial 1972 book The Limits to Growth. (Business Green)


Image source: Wayne National Forest Solar Panel Construction by Wayne National Forest / CC BY 2.0