Top Stories

August 17, 2017


Trump disbands business councils after CEOs quit in protest

President Donald Trump has disbanded the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum after several chief executives quit in protest over his remarks blaming weekend violence in Virginia on anti-racism activists and white nationalists. He said he would dissolve the two high-profile councils after eight executives, including Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison and 3M CEO Inge Thulin, quit the panels. Both councils, which respectively intended to advise Trump on government policy impacts on economic growth and to promote U.S. job growth, were moving to disband on their own when Trump announced on Twitter: “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both”. The Strategic and Policy Forum was headed by Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, a close ally of Trump in the business world. He called member executives to voice concerns after Trump’s comments, and an overwhelming majority backed disbanding the council. (Reuters)

Corporate Reputation

Spotify removes white supremacy music after events in Charlottesville

Spotify has removed several white supremacist bands from its service, following recent events at Charlottesville. Less than 48 hours after a list of “white power” bands was published online, Spotify announced they had removed some of the bands from its U.S. service and said they were considering taking down the other named artists. Artists removed had very low numbers of subscribers and play counts on the service. However many of the artists are still available for streaming in the UK. In an official statement, the company explained that its music was coming from “hundreds of thousands of record companies and aggregators”, which are “at first hand responsible for the content they deliver”, and added it was taking “immediate action” to remove reported materials. In a similar vein, Airbnb cancelled accounts linked to white supremacists prior to Charlottesville’s rally last week. (BBC)

Read more: “Does political activism have a place in corporate social responsibility?” by Mary Ellen Smith and “Stick with the program – corporate climate activism in the US” by George Blacksell


New industry guide published on energy efficiency engagement

The Carbon Trust and Smart Energy GB – the independent body in charge of the British smart meter rollout – have teamed up to publish a new guide for businesses to increase energy efficiency awareness in the workplace. According to Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay, “good quality measurement is the first step to effective management of energy”. The guide offers opportunities to engage with the campaign, from “sharing information” to “providing employees with the option to work from home and get a smart meter installed”, explained Smart Energy GB’s Chief executive Sacha Deshmukh. The organisation claims that encouraging employees to save energy at home can help relieve financial pressure, help build a more motivated workforce and inspire people to save energy in the workplace. (edie)


Lack of waste infrastructure could leave UK open to ‘potential disaster scenario’ post-Brexit

Waste handling capacity has been flagged as problematic in a new report, to be formally published in September, by waste management firm Suez. The findings reveal that the UK’s already taxed waste treatment capacities are likely to worsen post-Brexit. Currently, more than 3 million tons of waste are exported annually to Europe for treatment due to a lack of energy-from-waste (EfW) power plants, which are replacing landfills in order to treat non-recyclable residual waste. Increased tariffs and a weakening Sterling will make waste exports to Europe “financially unviable”, explained David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez. The projections indicate a current national shortfall of around 14 million tons of treatment capacity. It also notes that the construction timeframe of EfW sites could mean that the re-shored waste would end up in landfill sites – at a high cost to British businesses, taxpayers and the environment. (Sustainable Brands)


Investors plant $250m in alternative protein startups– and more dollars are coming

According to the startup database service Crunchbase, the popularity of high-protein diets, concern over animal welfare and Silicon Valley’s obsession with the next hottest innovation has led to at least $250 million invested in what the company describes as the “alternative protein space.” The companies that have received millions in funding include Hampton Creek, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, but also the laboratory meat startup Memphis Meats and cricket flour-based Exo Protein. The reasons for this flow of investments can be explained by improvements in the quality and taste of these products but also consumers showing satisfaction with protein replacements. Companies are also started to be seen as a complement and even competition by conventional food companies. General Mills recently invested in Beyond Meat and Tyson Foods acquired a stake in the fake meat company last year. (Triple Pundit)


Image Source: Protein alternatives by Daniel79 at Pixabay. CC 0.