Top Stories

March 22, 2017

Gender Equality

City of London backs drive to push women into senior roles

An ambitious plan to increase the number of senior women in the UK’s financial services sector has now been adopted by companies responsible for half of the country’s finance workers, the Treasury said on Wednesday. The Women in Finance Charter was launched a year ago after a review that said women are severely under-represented in senior roles in the City. It calls for companies to commit to hard targets for promoting women and publish how they progress towards those targets. The Treasury said that an extra 33 firms, employing 33,000 staff, had recently signed up to the charter, bringing the total number of committed firms to 122 with a collective staff of over half a million. Recent signatories include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Royal Bank of Scotland, retail bank Clydesdale and some fintech firms. So far, 77 firms have committed to have at least 30 percent of women in senior roles by 2021, while 23 firms have committed to a 50-50 split.  (Financial Times)*

Responsible Investment

Deutsche Börse to launch Sustainable Finance Initiative

The investment firm responsible for the STOXX index, Deutsche Börse, will be launching the Sustainable Finance Initiative in Frankfurt in May this year. The aim is to establish new interdisciplinary structures for sustainable entrepreneurship along with some 100 of the financial centre’s key participants in order to explore new business areas. The Sustainable Finance Initiative is intended to serve as a platform for dialogue which will focus on aspects such as to what extent capital markets promote innovative investment strategies and how to establish medium to long-term opportunity and risk management as a means of ensuring systemic stability. Banks, financial institutions, rating and ranking agencies, investors, insurance companies, data providers and representatives from the public, academic, NGO and church sectors will be invited to participate in the initiative.(Deutsche Boerse)

Supply Chain

Clothing giant VF Corporation adopts sustainable forestry policy

The largest US based clothing conglomerate VF Corporation, which owns brands including The North Face, Timberland, Vans, and Wrangler, has adopted its first-ever forestry policy. The policy is aimed at eliminating deforestation and human rights abuses from its supply chain and lays out purchasing guidelines for materials that go into the company’s clothing and packaging, particular for wood pulp, paper, and wood-based fabrics like rayon and viscose. Nicole Rycroft, executive director of Vancouver-based NGO Canopy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that VF Corp’s new policy sends a signal that companies and consumers want sustainable fibre that is not tied to social conflict and environmental degradation. VF Corp partnered with Canopy in to draft its new forestry policy, and has also formally joined the CanopyStyle campaign, which aims to eliminate deforestation and social conflict from the global supply chain of wood-based fabrics by December 2017. H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., Ralph Lauren, and Zara have also pledged commitment to the CanopyStyle campaign. (Eco-Business)


US hotel giants launch flurry of food waste trials

Some of the world’s most iconic hotels are to trial new approaches to tackling food waste, as part of a major new initiative launched today by WWF, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA). Hotel companies Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels, and Marriott International are amongst the high profile brands to sign up to the 12 week pilot to The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise Initiative, which aims to reduce post-harvest food loss and halve the world’s food waste by 2030. According to the group, currently around 40 percent of US food waste occurs throughout the supply chain, with the hospitality and food services industry being a prime culprit. “We’ve already seen that hotel guests are more than willing to conserve water and energy, simply by placing a card on their pillows or hanging their towels,” Associate Director Devon Klatell said. “Our hunch is that they’ll also take action to be part of the fight to cut food waste.”  (Business Green)


Uber pledges to make drivers happier

Uber‘s relationship with its drivers has become increasingly strained, the company admitted on Tuesday, as it vowed to improve its service. The ride-sharing firm told the media some of its policies were “unintentionally stacked against drivers”. In particular, drivers for the company will now have more ability to defend themselves against rider complaints and refunds. Central to Uber’s plan to appease its drivers is giving more weight to their own defence in the face of customer complaints. “We need to bring more humanity to the way we interact with drivers,” said Rachel Holt, who manages Uber’s operations in the US and Canada. However drivers say that if Uber really cares, it should give an option for customers to tip drivers. Uber also spoke about its continuing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and “toxic” working culture, regarding which, an investigation led by former attorney-general Eric Holder, will take place. (BBC)

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