Top Stories

June 14, 2017

Corporate Reputation

Uber chief Travis Kalanick to take leave of absence; board member resigns after sexist remark

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick plans to take time away from the company, and could return in a diminished role, according to an email sent to staff. The announcement comes after a review of management and practices at the firm, which is facing a number of scandals including complaints of sexual harassment. Shortly after the announcement, venture capitalist David Bonderman resigned from Uber’s board of directors, after apologising for making a sexist remark during an all-staff meeting about reforming the company’s culture to address sexism. During the meeting, Bonderman interrupted his fellow board member Arianna Huffington, as she quoted data showing that once a company had one woman on its board, it was more likely to have a second. Bonderman interjected: “Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking.” He subsequently sent an email to the staff apologizing for his “disrespectful comment”. (Guardian, BBC)

Circular Economy

New WWF global platform seeks to create mainstream market for secondary materials

To reduce waste and encourage the reuse of materials, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched the Cascading Materials Vision, a platform that seeks to enable a global system of efficient materials management. Businesses and organisations that have already signed on include The Coca-Cola Company, DuPont and Target. The companies and organisations that sign onto the vision agree to abide by a set of guiding principles for decision-making that align materials management practices, allow for greater collaborations across industry and make it easier for companies to source secondary materials. The principles range from systems-thinking to evaluating environmental impact and implementing flexible solutions that address current and future needs. (Sustainable Brands)


Technology companies could face penalties if they don’t stop online hate

Technology companies such as Google and Facebook must do more to curb the “poisonous propaganda” that fuels terror attacks such as the atrocities in London and Manchester, French president Emmanuel Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May have said. Launching a UK-French pact to explore new ways to curb the spread of online hate, the leaders agreed to explore creating a new legal liability for tech companies if they fail to remove inflammatory content, which could include penalties such as fines. The plans have already raised concerns among privacy campaigners about state access to private citizens’ communications and how it might act as a potential gateway for hackers. (The Guardian)


GRI and Australian government partner to accelerate investment in Indo-Pacific

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are launching a new programme, ‘Sustainable Trade and Investment through Reporting in the Indo-Pacific’. The programme aims to contribute to greater stability and poverty alleviation in the region, by increasing transparency and building domestic capacity for sustainability reporting. Through the programme, GRI will establish a network of Indo-Pacific organisations committed to leveraging transparency for sustainable development. GRI will engage with policymakers, regulators and stock exchanges to help promote frameworks for corporate sustainability reporting. The initiative will particularly focus on building reporting capacity among first- and second- tier companies that are part of the value chains of multinational enterprises, which are increasingly demanding sustainability information from their suppliers. (Just Means)

Technology & Innovation

Google maps air pollution on city roads

Google is now using its Street View vehicles to map the pollution levels of city roads. The cars have been fitted with sensors to detect pollutants and map a city’s most toxic hot spots in a bid to help commuters find a healthier route. Since launching in 2015, the air quality project has already driven 14,000 miles around the US, and has now launched a test map of Oakland, California. The map reveals that levels of harmful pollutants at junctions and crossroads are five to eight times higher than nearby streets. The project is a joint venture between Google, the US Environmental Defence Fund and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. The team believes that their mobile measurement system could be implemented in many cities throughout the world, providing detailed air quality information for citizens, families, local governments and scientists. (Daily Mail)


Image Source: Recycled bottles by Articonn at Pixabay. CC 1.0