Top Stories

January 12, 2017
  1. Nigerian state governor accuses aid agencies of profiting from Borno crisis
  2. Review backs £1.3bn tidal lagoon project in Swansea Bay
  3. JPMorgan Ordered to Pay Damages for Firing Whistle-Blower
  4. Mitsubishi Electric referred to prosecutors for alleged overwork
  5. GRI and UN Global Compact invite networks to help shape SDG reporting


Nigerian state governor accuses aid agencies of profiting from Borno crisis

Aid agencies including the UN children’s fund, Unicef, are profiting from money meant to help those fleeing Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising, according to the governor of Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state, Kashim Shettima. He has said the state had become “a cash cow”, with people profiting “from the agony of our people”. He said only eight of 126 registered agencies were doing “good work”, including the World Food Programme and UN Population Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Organisation for Migration. His criticism followed similar observations by President Muhammadu Buhari, who in December accused the UN and private agencies of exaggerating the humanitarian crisis to boost funding. Shettima accused Unicef of misusing funds by buying bullet-proof vehicles. Such a vehicle saved lives in July when Boko Haram attacked a humanitarian convoy, wounding a Unicef worker, two other aid workers and two soldiers. Tensions between the Nigerian government and aid agencies have increased, with agencies accusing the government of trying to hide the extent of the crisis. (Guardian)


Review backs £1.3bn tidal lagoon project in Swansea Bay

Electricity generated by tidal power schemes would cost consumers “less than a pint of milk” a year, according to an independent review, led by Charles Hendry, backing a high profile £1.3bn project in Swansea Bay. The proposed 320 megawatt pilot project was given planning permission by Amber Rudd, then energy minister, in June 2015 but questions have remained over the government subsidies required to make tidal lagoon technology viable.  Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the Swansea Bay proposal, says it could act as pilot for five much larger schemes around the UK, in Cardiff, Newport, Colwyn Bay, Somerset and Cumbria. However, much attention will fall on the “strike price” — the price the government would agree for the electricity generated by tidal lagoons if ministers follow Mr Hendry’s recommendations. Some critics remain unconvinced. Richard Howard of the Policy Exchange think-tank has called the Swansea project “a folly”. (Financial Times)


JPMorgan Ordered to Pay Damages for Firing Whistle-Blower

JPMorgan Chase inappropriately retaliated against a former employee who raised questions about the bank’s sales tactics and investment products, the Labor Department found. The bank was ordered to pay back wages and damages to Johnny Burris, a former broker at one of its Arizona branches. A letter released on Tuesday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the department, said that JPMorgan had violated provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley law designed to protect whistle-blowers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration inquiry found that Mr. Burris’s manager did indeed appear to act “inappropriately” in filing the complaints. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a filing last fall that it was likely to bring disciplinary action against Mr. Burris’s manager for “creating misleading documents and making misleading statements.” The letter this week ordered JPMorgan to finally pay Mr. Burris $64,462.03 in back wages and $100,000 in damages, along with his legal fees. (The New York Times)

Corporate Reputation

Mitsubishi Electric referred to prosecutors for alleged overwork

The labor ministry in Japan referred Mitsubishi Electric Corp. to prosecutors Wednesday on suspicion of forcing excessive overtime on a male employee, who subsequently developed a psychological disorder. It allegedly made a 31-year-old man work far longer than the maximum 60 hours of monthly overtime. “We will sincerely deal with the matter,” a public relations official at Mitsubishi said, adding that the company would take steps to keep working hours at appropriate levels.” The postdoctoral employee said he was instructed by a superior to report fewer hours than he actually worked. The local labor standards office certified in November that he worked more than 100 hours of overtime a month and recognized his illness as work-related. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged business leaders last week to push for a fundamental reform of working conditions to eradicate problems associated with the culture of long hours and poor treatment of part-time staff. (The Japan Times)


GRI and UN Global Compact invite networks to help shape SDG reporting

In September 2016, GRI and the United Nations Global Compact announced the partnership of SDG Leadership through Reporting, a new initiative to promote and shape the future of corporate reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A global list of prioritized disclosures for tracking business contributions and impacts on the SDGs will be produced for the UN High Level Political Forum in July 2017. It is now inviting businesses and stakeholders to join the movement. GRI and the UN Global Compact are activating their respective networks to create a multi-stakeholder group of leading businesses, reporting experts and data users. They will also involve UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), to increase the value of corporate sustainability disclosures for the financial community. The multi-stakeholder group, which runs until the end of 2018, has two formations: (1) A wider group will contribute to shaping the future of SDG reporting and includes businesses and other stakeholders invited by UNGC and GRI (2) A more focused group, composed of just businesses, will serve as a business engagement and peer learning forum, where members can show leadership in their SDG performance. (GRI)

Image source: At Atkins Global. Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.