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February 10, 2017

Reporting / Indices

Bloomberg financial services Gender-Equality Index reveals global progress

Bloomberg today announced the 2017 Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI), providing investors and organizations with unique insight into the statistics, policies, product offerings and external engagement driving 52 firms’ commitment to building gender-equal workplaces. Bloomberg also introduced a Fixed Income Gender-Equality Index, representing investment grade debt issued by the 2017 BFGEI member firms. ““Companies are increasingly focused on managing operational risks, including the attraction and retention of employees. The BFGEI brings greater transparency to the practices and policies crucial to managing those risks and attracting investor capital”, says Angela Sun, Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at Bloomberg. The index has shown that the percentage of female executives at 2017 BFGEI member firms increased by 25.2% between fiscal year 2014 and 2015. Firms interested in participating submitted a social survey created by Bloomberg in partnership with third-party experts, including Women’s World Banking, Catalyst, and Working Mother Media. Some examples of companies included are: Allianz, American Express, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase and many others. (Bloomberg)


Public comment period announced for the Responsible Mining Index

The Responsible Mining Foundation has announced the release of the Draft Methodology of the Responsible Mining Index (RMI) for public comment. The specific goal of the Index is to encourage continuous improvement in responsible mining by transparently ranking the performance of some of the world’s largest mining companies on economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) issues, and highlighting leading practice. The Index will be published every two years and will rank 30 of the world’s largest mining companies. These related initiatives include various reporting frameworks, standards, principles, certification mechanisms and industry guidelines.  It will measure company performance against what society expects from mining companies on EESG issues, based on a range of internationally agreed practices and principles. The Responsible Mining Foundation has invited comments and recommendations from all stakeholder groups during the comment period. All comments and recommendations received will be reviewed and considered as the methodology is finalised in the coming months. (Responsible Mining index)


 ‘Jobs for the boys’ is just half the story: growing crisis of worklessness looms in the US

The myopic political focus on America’s ‘missing men’ ignores another worrying trend, which indicates that America’s women are disappearing too from the workforce. This is in spite of a broader global trend of an increase in female labour-force participation. The country’s prime-age female labour-force participation is now lower than that of Japan’s. It is this compound effect of falling male and female participation in their prime years (25 – 54) that means America faces acute problems with worklessness, people neither in work or looking for work, in the future. One explanation for this trend is that US policy is particularly unsupportive of women who want to stay in work when they have children — with the result that many drop out. In the rest of the world, policy is moving in the opposite direction. Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn at Cornell University have found that the expansion of “family-friendly” policies in other developed countries explained almost 30 per cent of why US female labour force participation had fallen behind. According to the Resolution Foundation, a think-tank, if the US could match the UK’s female participation rate, there would be 3.3m more women in work in America. (Financial Times)


BBC launches mandatory carbon tracking scheme

The BBC announced yesterday (9th February) that as of 3rd April, all programmes commissioned by the broadcaster would have to use the Albert carbon calculator to track emissions and uncover best practices to reduce environmental impacts. More than 2,000 users across 300 companies are currently signed up to Albert, and 63 shows have been certified for implementing sustainable production techniques, achieving a carbon reduction against industry benchmarks and involving key stakeholders. The decision to make tracking compulsory has been backed by PACT, the trade association for independent media firms and television companies. Carbon reduction programmes already in place include those of the Springwatch production, which has turned to waste vegetable oil and solar-powered generators to power the facilities at RSPB Minsmere. The BBC’s project manager for environmental sustainability, Hattie Park, revealed that the average hour of BBC production equates to about 12 tonnes of CO2 emissions and that the Albert scheme was helping to reduce this further. “We need to be sharing the information and keeping the momentum going to encourage and motivate,” Park said. (Edie)
Auto industry giants invest in new energy vehicles

Honda Motor Co Ltd and General Motors Co (GM) have announced ambitious plans to expand pollution-free hydrogen fuel power systems in the US from 2020, a move that will not only create new jobs, but also drive forward the shift away from fossil fuel-dependent vehicles. The companies revealed that they will invest $85 million to add a production line at a GM battery plant in Brownstown, Michigan, which is expected to create 100 new jobs. The two companies are among a handful of automakers to develop fuel cell vehicles, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and emit only water. However, a lack of infrastructure and low prices at the pump has geared consumers towards more traditional vehicles. GM executive Mark Reuss said that the fuel cells could be used by ride-sharing companies such as affiliate Lyft and autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) have come together under a new partnership to improve future mobility through new environmental and safety technologies. (Sustainable Brands)

Image source: Apollo Beach power plant in Apollo Beach, FLpublic domain