Top Stories

November 07, 2016


Top companies urged to have at least one non-white director

Every FTSE 100 company should appoint at least one director from an ethnic minority, according to a report that highlights the lack of diversity in British businesses. The report, commissioned last year by the government, warns that a lack of non-white directors creates a greater risk of “groupthink”. It urges the UK’s biggest listed companies to ensure there is a “pipeline” of minority ethnic “board capable” candidates, and recommends that companies should set out their board’s policy and progress in their annual report. The report reveals that British people from a minority ethnic background make up only about 1.5 per cent of FTSE 100 directors, despite totalling 14 per cent of the population. (Financial Times*)


Fossil fuel lobby given “unprecedented” access to Marrakech climate talks

As the world gathers in Marrakech for the historic first meeting under the Paris Agreement, it does so with the “unprecedented involvement” of corporate interests. Representatives of companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody, BP, Shell and RioTinto will have unquestioned access to most discussions, according to the Guardian. The meeting comes at the same time as another UN meeting – COP7 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – where the exclusion of corporate interests has been hailed as a fundamental ingredient to its success. It also follows the unveiling of a new climate investment fund by several oil companies, which campaigners have dismissed as a “pathetic offering” that “even fails as an effective example of PR spin”. (Guardian; Telegraph)

Natural Capital

Global biodiversity standard launched

The Joint Task Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, established following the World Conservation Congress in 2004 to develop a methodology for identifying Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), has released its new Global Standard. The KBA Standard builds on more than 30 years of experience in identifying important sites for different subsets of biodiversity. It provides an objective, transparent and rigorous process through which to identify sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity, providing decision-makers with an improved understanding of why particular sites are important for biodiversity. Rio Tinto and Shell supported the global consultation on the new Standard, which has involved hundreds of scientists and stakeholders. (Natural Capital Coalition)

Inclusive Business

Women-owned businesses to get online marketing boost

Women’s rights advocates will launch a website this month for consumers to choose products and retailers that support women-owned businesses around the world. A percentage of each sale using will go toward providing microloans to poor women to start their own businesses. Users can search by postcode or product to find local women-owned businesses for shopping, said Wendy Diamond, founder of the site. The initiative hopes to replicate the popularity of such efforts as Small Business Saturday, which was started to promote local shopping, and Cyber Monday, a marketing effort to encourage online shopping, organisers said. So far it has the participation of more than 70 retailers including fashion companies Coach, Cynthia Rowley, Nasty Gal and ASOS. (Eco-business)


Uber driver who won right to take holiday has request for paid time off denied

A UK Uber driver who won the right to take paid holiday in a landmark case has had his own request for time off denied. James Farrar won last week’s employment tribunal, which ruled Uber drivers are not self-employed and therefore should be entitled to the national living wage and paid leave. He celebrated by putting in a holiday request, but a few hours later posted Uber’s response on Twitter, telling him he could not take paid holiday until the court ruling had been appealed. While Uber is appealing the decision, the ruling has led employment experts to believe that other large-scale self-employed workforces could come under greater scrutiny under UK law. Mr Farrar wrote: “Bad news from Uber. Just gotta keep working I suppose…” (Evening Standard)


Image source: Oil Pump Jack by Paul Lowry / CC BY 2.0