Top Stories

June 05, 2017


Report reveals business opportunities for Asian companies pursuing sustainable development

The Better Business, Better World: Asia report released today, on World Environment Day, by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BDSC) claims that the private sector could unlock US$5 trillion in business opportunities and create 230 million new jobs in Asia by 2030. The new Asia-focused report is in addition to the Better Business flagship report, which Corporate Citizenship contributed to, that was unveiled at the start of 2017. The 88-page roadmap aims to help business leaders understand how the private sector can benefit from the SDGs, and reveals the issues that will present the biggest opportunities for their businesses over the next 13 years. For example, the report found that affordable housing in the developing world, especially in China, was to be the most rewarding market opportunity, with a valuation of $505 billion. Renewable energy was found to be the second largest, followed by reducing food waste in the supply chain and moving the automotive industry towards more circular practices. (Eco-Business)


New MSC Report Spotlights Certification’s Role in Delivering the SDGs

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has released a new report highlighting the positive impact certification can have in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MSC Global Impacts Report 2017 details more than a thousand examples of positive change being made by certified fisheries to safeguard fish stocks and marine habitats. The findings come ahead of the United Nations Oceans Conference, convening in New York this week to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. The MSC report presents governments, industry and NGOs with evidence for credible certification as a powerful tool to catalyse and secure improvements in marine fisheries. The MSC’s goal is for 20 percent of all wild-caught seafood to come from fisheries engaged in the MSC program by 2020. The report demonstrates that with the correct incentives and actions, fisheries can achieve the sustainable performance required to meet the SDGs. (Sustainable Brands)

Corporate Reputation

Tesla fires female engineer who alleged sexual harassment

A female engineer at Tesla who accused the company of ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment and paying her less than her male counterparts has been fired in what her lawyer alleges was an act of retaliation. AJ Vandermeyden, who went public with her discrimination lawsuit against Elon Musk’s car company in February, was dismissed this week. Vandermeyden had claimed she was taunted and catcalled by male employees and that Tesla failed to address her complaints about the harassment, unequal pay and discrimination. Vandermeyden’s firing is likely to reignite debate over employment standards in Silicon Valley, where startups and major tech corporations are grappling with complaints of systemic wage disparities, gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. An account of alleged sexism at Uber went viral earlier this year, fuelling debate about harassment in the industry, while a recent federal lawsuit against Google has placed a spotlight on concerns about tech firms underpaying women. (Guardian)

Ethical Marketing

US state sues 5 drug companies over the opioid crisis

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said his office has sued five major drug manufacturers, accusing them of misrepresenting the risks of prescription opioid painkillers and so helping to fuel a sky-rocketing drug addiction epidemic. The five companies Ohio sued were Purdue Pharma LP, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc unit, a unit of Endo International Plc, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd’s Cephalon unit and Allergan Plc. He argued the drug companies spent millions of dollars to promote the drugs for profit while denying or trivializing their potential addictive qualities. Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin, killed more than 33,000 people in the United States in 2015, more than any year on record, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Similar law suits have been filed across the United States, targeting the unethical behaviour of pharmaceutical companies’ opioid marketing practises.  (Business Insider)

Employee rights

Walmart Is Accused of Punishing Workers for Sick Days

A report released by the workers’ advocacy group ‘A Better Balance’ says Walmart, the US’ largest private employer, routinely refuses to accept doctors’ notes, penalizes workers who need to take care of a sick family member and otherwise punishes employees for lawful absences. The report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 employees, accuses Walmart of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and discriminating against pregnant workers, among other worker-protection laws. Walmart said that it had not reviewed the report but disputed the group’s conclusions, and said that the company’s attendance policies helped make sure that there were enough employees to help customers while protecting workers from regularly covering others’ duties. Walmart has previously been known for its penny-pinching attention to detail and opposition to organized labour. In the past couple of years, however, the company has announced that it would raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour and has pledged to invest heavily in training and salaries of its workforce. (New York Times)

Image source: Fischerboot by Christof46 at Wikimedia. CC by-SA 4.0