Top Stories

February 20, 2017


Kraft walks away from ‘friendly’ bid for Unilever

U.S. food company Kraft Heinz Co withdrew its proposal for a $143-billion merger with larger rival Unilever Plc, the companies said on Sunday, raising questions about whether Kraft will turn its focus to another target. Kraft withdrew its offer because it felt it was too difficult to negotiate a deal following the public disclosure of its bid so soon after its approach to Unilever. Under UK takeover rules, Kraft’s public withdrawal of its offer precludes it from reviving takeover talks with Unilever for six months. A deal for Unilever would have marked the next installment of Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital Management Inc’s longstanding strategy of buying food companies and slashing costs. Unilever feared that a merger with Kraft, under 3G Capital’s relentless cost-cutting, risked eroding the value of its brands and could impede its expansion in emerging markets, which requires more investment. Unilever also saw its household products and consumer care divisions as too distinct from Kraft’s food business, sources added. (Reuters)

Responsible Investment

Investors urged to catalyse climate-credible business models in the banking sector

Investors should engage and use their voting rights to demand that major banks play a proactive role in the low carbon transition, according to a new report published by ShareAction. Fiduciary investors seeking to mitigate exposure to climate risks have everything to gain from strategic engagement with the banking sector,” says Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareActionThe report, entitled Banking on a Low Carbon Future, provides detailed guidance for investors wishing to question banks on how they are addressing the business risks and opportunities associated with climate change and the low carbon transition. ShareAction’s agenda for banks is designed to breathe life into the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The report calls on banks to scale up financing of sectors and activities that facilitate low carbon growth. Banks are also encouraged to bring their lobbying weight to bear in support of public policies that accelerate decarbonisation of the global economy. (ShareAction)


Tech giants rally behind US energy storage market

A US-based coalition featuring companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla as members has applauded the efforts of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to open-up US wholesale electricity markets to energy storage and demand response initiatives. Members of The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) – as General Electric, Veolia and Siemens- have penned a joint statement to the FERC over the integration of energy storage into selected US electricity markets. The FERC established the parameters for what types of organisations and what types of energy and infrastructure can connect to power grids in the US, and how the technologies will be subsidised. The latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has agreed that battery storage can support the grid and ruled that the technology should be viable to receive income from transmissions, making them more attractive to investors and private sector companies. The new amendments will likely target markets overseen by US Regional Transmission Organisations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs). (Edie)


HP Pledges to Slash Emissions 25 Percent by 2025

HP Inc., a global leader in the manufacture of personal computers and printers, will adopt what it describes as a significant plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2015 levels by 2025. Its announcement comes shortly after it reached its supply chain and operational greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets five years earlier than originally planned. Across its supply chain, HP said it cut the emissions impact of minerals extraction through manufacturing by over 16 million metric tons. On the operations side, the company says it eliminated 900,000 metric tons of emissions just by encouraging employees to work from home, to participate in carpooling or to use alternate forms of transportation. Additionally, HP plans to forge a deforestation-free supply chain by 2020 while it closely works with environmental NGOs such as WWF. The company is also working with the Forest Stewardship Council on paper products while scoring a perfect 100 from CDP on climate disclosures. (Triple Pundit)


Global ‘fish wars’ could break out as climate change and rising nationalism fuel competition for world’s oceans

The twin threats of climate change and growing nationalism could lead to an outbreak of conflicts over fish stocks – like the infamous Cod Wars between the UK and Iceland – that could threaten the global supply of food and “decimate” marine ecosystems, experts have warned. Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston on Thursday, a panel of experts said that with the right management and international co-operation the number of fish in the sea and the amount caught by fishing fleets could increase over the coming decades. However, they warned rising temperatures were prompting many species to move to different parts of the sea, which could threaten some individual countries’ economies and access to food. And this, fuelled by the growth in nationalist sentiments, could see a new “era of fish wars” as countries compete for stocks. (Independent)

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