Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Governance, Human Rights, Strategy, Sustainable Investment, Uncategorized

Top Stories

August 04, 2016


Apple reports improving racial and gender diversity among employees

Apple claims to have improved its gender and ethnic diversity in 2015/16 as it stayed ahead of fellow Silicon Valley powerhouses in hiring minorities. According to Apple’s annual diversity and inclusion report, it has closed pay gaps over the last year by analysing salaries, bonuses and annual stock grants, and opened up its annual stock grants program to retail employees for the first time. Unlike Google and Facebook, Apple’s workforce includes a pool of retail employees, where minority representation is higher. However, its tech-only workforce (8% black and 8% Hispanic) still outranks Google and Facebook’s (both 1% black and 3% Hispanic). The Rev Jesse Jackson, who confronted Apple CEO, Tim Cook, over diversity in 2014, applauded its efforts to partner with historically black colleges and universities and scholarship organisations. (Guardian)


Virgin Media hails ‘biggest carbon reduction ever’ following major efficiency drive

Telecoms giant Virgin Media has recorded its “biggest ever” annual carbon reduction, with emissions falling by 6.1 percent between 2014 and 2015 as a part of the firm’s ‘Digital for Good’ sustainability programme launched last year. In its latest sustainability update, the company outlines progress on its five-year Digital for Good plan. The emissions reduction was achieved despite significant business growth, largely through a massive cutback in truck fleet journeys. Katie Buchanan, Virgin Media UK’s head of sustainability, hailed the achievement, but said there was “always more to do”. Meeting sustainability goals for car and van fleets has been a particular “challenge”, she added. Virgin Media’s update uses a sophisticated array of communications tools to report on progress, including infographics, blogs, social media promotions and a 360° video to provide an immersive experience of the company’s sustainability vision. (edie)


Report: Anticorruption efforts in listed firms in Southeast Asia not sufficient

A joint research project conducted by the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) and the National University of Singapore Business School’s Center for Governance, Institutions and Organization reveals that businesses in Southeast Asia are not doing enough to combat corruption. The study analysed the top 50 listed companies in the region, finding only 54 percent have a publicly disclosed commitment to fighting corruption. Singapore outperformed the region at 75 percent, followed by Thailand at 72 percent. The study also revealed that across the region, there is very low company leadership support for anticorruption programmes – at just 18 percent. According to Jerry Bernas, ACN’s programme director, the act of receiving and giving gifts has always been cited as part of Asian business culture, thus “represents a big grey area” for bribery concerns. (INQUIRER)

Responsible Investment

New UK pensions code of practice “huge boost” for responsible investment

Trustees of UK pension funds should consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions, where such factors are “financially significant”, according to a new code of practice published by The Pensions Regulator (TPR). According to Simon Howard, Chief Executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, the revised code of practice could represent a “huge boost” for responsible investment in the UK. The code is clear that since most defined contribution schemes’ investments will be long-term in nature, they will be exposed to longer-term sustainability risks. TPR highlights potential issues including climate change, unsustainable business practices and unsound corporate governance, which could be financially significant both over the short and longer-term. (Blue & Green Tomorrow; UKSIF)

Human Rights

British anti-slavery database gets sluggish response from business

Only 100 British companies have paid to sign up to a new voluntary slavery database, designed to fund an anti-trafficking helpline. The number is a tiny fraction of around 12,000 UK businesses targeted to join the Transparency in the Supply Chain (TISC) databank, which allows firms to confidentially admit when they find their suppliers using enslaved workers. Britain’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act only requires businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to disclose in annual reports what action they have taken to ensure their supply chains are free of slave labour. The slow take-up of the TISC databank reflects a lack of awareness among businesses about what they need to do to comply with the law, anti-trafficking campaigners have said. (Reuters Foundation)

Image source: Singapore skyline from Elgin bridge by Erwin Soo / CC BY 2.0