Top Stories

January 11, 2017

Inclusive Business

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife to build political muscle for philanthropic work

The Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have hired a top political operative to lead the next phase of their philanthropic work at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the limited liability company they set up in 2015 to conduct charitable efforts. In addition, they are pushing to give their philanthropic work — which has focused on education, science and curing disease — a greater voice in Washington and among movements and advocacy groups across the country. “You can make change, but in order for it to be sustainable, you need to build a movement to support it,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in an interview. “Curing disease, improving education through personalized learning and building technology and tools to help organizations reach their full potential are areas with widespread support and massive potential for mobilization, great storytelling and smart policy engagement,” he wrote in a Facebook post. (The New York Times)

Corporate Reputation

Apple named world’s greenest tech firm in latest Greenpeace report

Apple has been named the world’s greenest major tech company for the third consecutive year in a new report released Greenpeace. It has scored full marks for transparency, renewable energy commitment, and procurement and emissions mitigation in Greenpeace‘s annual report which measures energy performance across the IT sector. Along with Google and Facebook Apple is singled out for maintaining a strong policy since adopting a 100% renewable commitment in 2012. According to the report, Apple provides the clearest and most detailed reporting of the tech giants on the energy performance of its own data centres, including its North Carolina hub which is 100% powered by solar and biogas energy. With 93% of Apple’s global facilities running on renewable energy, the company will soon begin to sell electricity generated from solar panels and farms, hydrogen fuel cells and biogas facilities. (Edie)

Business Conduct

OECD launches consultation on guidelines for responsible business conduct

The OECD is currently developing a general Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct to provide practical support to companies on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Due Diligence Guidance contains explanations of the due diligence recommendations and associated provisions in the OECD Guidelines and intended to be applicable to all sectors. The OECD is asking for comment on two draft documents: OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and Companion to the Due Diligence Guidance.  These Guidelines recommend that recommend that Multinational Enterprises conduct identify, prevent or mitigate and account for how actual and potential adverse environmental, social and economic impacts are addressed. (OECD)


Alcoa warns of ‘escalating electricity prices’ as it negotiates new power agreement

A subsidised power contract with the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, Australia, expired yesterday. The subsidy, which is said to have cost taxpayers more than $100m a year on some occasions, was designed to provide electricity to both the Portland and now-defunct Point Henry smelters at a price linked to the world price of aluminium. The uncertainty threatens the western Victorian community, where Alcoa is deeply entrenched in the regional economy. Providing more than 2,000 indirect jobs — almost a quarter of Portland’s total population — the company is the region’s largest employer and biggest taxpayer. AGL Loy Yang had been recruited to supply power to the smelter from today onwards, replacing the subsidy, but Alcoa terminated its contract with the company in August to renegotiate a better price. “There’s been a recognition that it would be desirable to see Alcoa work out its arrangements with AGL as soon as possible so they can have a more direct discussion with the state about their long-term needs.” said Treasurer Tim Pallas.  (ABC)

Responsible Investment

Green Investment Bank will be asset-stripped, warns Cable

The Green Investment Bank will be stripped of its assets when it is transferred to the private sector.  So far the GIB has invested £2.7bn but it was put on the block by George Osborne as part of the former chancellor’s deficit reduction programme. The Australian bank Macquarie is thought to be the preferred bidder and an announcement is expected within weeks.  In the run-up to Christmas 10 new companies were incorporated and registered to the GIB’s London offices, including Galloper Holdco Ltd, Rampion Holdco Ltd and WMR Holdco Ltd. Those names correspond with three of the GIB’s biggest assets, the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore wind farms, according to think-tank E3G and Greenpeace. A spokesman for SDCL said the group was still “eager” to make the acquisition. Macquarie issued a statement saying it was one of the world’s most committed investors in renewable energy, having invested or arranged £8.5bn of investment since 2010. (Financial Times)

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