Top Stories

January 04, 2017


Executive pay: ‘Fat Cat Wednesday’ highlighted

Top bosses will have earned more by midday on Wednesday than typical workers earn in the entire year, the High Pay Centre think tank has said. Branding it “Fat Cat Wednesday”, it says that is the time executives will pass the average UK salary of £28,200. High Pay Centre director Stefan Stern said it was an important reminder of the unfair pay gap in the UK. The think-tank has made the calculation for the past three years, but this year it is comparing the top bosses’ median salary of about £4m a year with the median UK employees’ salary of £28,200. Theresa May has said tackling corporate excess is a priority for her government. It is currently looking at whether to force companies to introduce pay ratios. The CBI, said that shareholders should be holding companies to account. “Businesses shouldn’t award exceptional pay for poor performance and shareholders have a key role in ensuring sensible, sustainable and reasonable pay setting policies,” said Josh Hardie, the CBI’s deputy director general.  (BBC)


Coffee from Rainforest Alliance farms in Brazil linked to exploited workers

Serious labour rights violations have taken place at Brazilian farms linked to some of the largest international coffee certification systems, including Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, according to an investigation by Repórter Brasil. These include workers’ pay packets being falsely docked resulting in some receiving less than half Brazil’s minimum wage, and workers being hired informally and without mandatory medical tests, according to a report by the civil society organisation, published this week. It refers to workers at Minas Gerais state, south-east Brazil, who back in 2014 experienced deductions to their pay packets for absences that never happened, advances they never received and days off they should have been paid for. This was brought up to the local Union of rural Workers. Fal Holdings, who paid all the outstanding wages, alleged the irregularity was because the farm had been changing its tax status at the time. The report also cites a 2015 investigation which found 13 seasonal workers had not been registered at a nearby farm. (Guardian)


Unilever: A third of consumers now buy from ‘good’ brands

More than a third of consumers now choose to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good, according to a ground-breaking new study from consumer goods giant Unilever. Working in conjunction with research consultancies Europanel and Flamingo, Unilever last year questioned 20,000 adults from five countries – Brazil, India, Turkey, the US and the UK – about how their sustainability concerns impact their choice of products. Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer pointed out,  the results confirm that sustainability is no longer just a “nice to have” for businesses. “To succeed globally, and especially in emerging economies across Asia, Africa and Latin America, brands should go beyond traditional focus areas like product performance and affordability,” he said in a statement. Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever most sustainable brands, are growing 30 per cent more quickly than the rest of its business. (Business Green)


‘Cake culture’ in the workplace ‘is making Britons fat’

Leading dentists are calling for workplace “cake culture” to end, saying it is making people fat and contributing to the nation’s dental problems.  The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) added that people should avoid snacking, perhaps saving any sugar for a lunchtime treat, and sweet treats should hidden away to avoid temptation.  A “sugar schedule” to limit sugar intake has also been recommended. Professor Nigel Hunt, dean of the FDS at the Royal College of Surgeons, said that employers should be encouraging healthier eating. “We need a culture change in offices and other workplaces that encourages healthy eating and helps workers avoid caving in to sweet temptations such as cakes, sweets and biscuits.” The Faculty of Dental Surgery has developed simple tips for workers and employers to help them cut back on sugar in the workplace. (Evening Standard)

Sustainable Development

Electricity’s ‘Climate Impact’ reduced most in Scotland compared to UK

The average ‘climate change impact’ of generating a unit of electricity in Scotland has fallen by almost two-fifths (38%) between 2010 and 2014 and is now half the UK average, according to new analysis by WWF Scotland. WWF Scotland’s Climate and Energy Policy Officer Fabrice Leveque said: “The transformation in the way we produce our power is helping Scotland harness the many economic and social benefits of shifting to a zero-carbon future”. Star Renewable Energy director and low-carbon heat expert Dave Pearson said: “With the climate change impact of generating electricity in Scotland now down below 200gCO2/kWh, highly efficient heat pumps will deliver heat for less than a third of the carbon of gas boilers. We need to stop installing gas boilers, if we are to start providing cheaper, cleaner heat.” Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said there is much more that could be done to repeat Scotland’s success it’s had in cutting emissions in the power sector in other areas of society. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)

Image source: Triumph business success businessman by by studiostoks in Graphics Illustrations