Top Stories

July 26, 2017


Over 250 CEOs have signed pledge committing to advance diversity in the workplace

One month after 175 CEOs launched CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, nearly 100 additional CEOs have taken the pledge to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Under the pledge, launched by PwC US chairman Tim Ryan, businesses commit to welcome and cultivate diverse perspectives and experiences and encourage employees to discuss diversity and inclusion topics. New signatories include the CEOs and US leaders of L’Oréal, Mars, UPS and Mercedes-Benz. Signatories have been sharing tangible examples of nearly 200 actions they have already taken via the initiative’s website to promote learning exchange and create dialogue. It now represents 70 industries, all 50 US states and millions of employees globally. (Sustainable Brands)


Roomba-maker considers selling data on customers’ homes

High-end models of Roomba, iRobot’s robotic vacuum, collect data as they clean, creating a map of customers’ homes that the company is considering selling to Amazon, Apple or Google. Colin Angle, chief executive of iRobot, told Reuters that a deal could come in the next two years. The data could fuel new “smart” home products but also provide marketers with the opportunity to target consumers accordingly. No armchair in your living room? You might see ads for armchairs next time you open Facebook. iRobot said that it was “committed to the absolute privacy of our customer-related data” and customers can “opt out of sending map data to the cloud through a switch in the mobile app.” It also added that “no data will be shared with third parties without the informed consent of our customers”. (New York Times)


Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health. The commitment is part of the much-await clean air plan and has been at the heart of a high court legal battle following pursuit of the government by campaign group ClientEarth. The group gave a cautious welcome to the announcement and said ministers must take immediate action to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis, which is responsible for 400,000 deaths per year and costs up to £2.7 billion in lost productivity. Britain’s air quality package also includes £1 billion investment in ultra-low emissions vehicles, including investing nearly £100 million in the UK’s charging infrastructure and funding the ”plug-in car” and “plug-in grant” schemes, as well as air quality grants for councils and £1.2 billion  funding for cycling and walking. (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Australian consumer watchdog sues Ford for ‘misleading’ drivers

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has claimed that about 70,000 Ford vehicles sold in Australia were fitted with a faulty dual-clutch automatic gearbox. About half of the vehicles with a PowerShift transmission – aimed at improving fuel efficiency – sold between 2011 and 2016 have required at least one significant repair, with some customers taking their cars for repairs up to seven times. Ford allegedly refused to provide a refund or replacement. The company is also accused of taking the surrendered vehicles, and re-selling them to unsuspecting new buyers without disclosing the car’s transmission issues. Chair of the ACCC Rob Sims said “the ACCC is alarmed about the level of non-compliance with the Australian consumer law in the new car industry”. (ABC News)

Technology and Innovation

Wisconsin company offers employees microchip implants

A Wisconsin vending machine company is offering its employees a chance to have a microchip implanted in their hands that they could use to buy snacks, log in to computers or use the copy machine. About 50 employees at Three Square Market have agreed to the optional implant of the chips, which are the approximate size and shape of a grain of rice. The company said it was the first in the United States to offer staff the technology which is similar to that used by contactless credit cards. Sweden’s BioHax International, which made the implants, said the technology could “become standardised allowing [people] to use this as [their] passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc”. Critics of using chips in humans include Nevada State Senator Becky Harris, who introduced legislation that would make forced installation of microchips illegal. (Reuters)

Image Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission by Scott Lewis by at Flickr. CC 2.0