Top Stories

November 29, 2017

The Independent Research in Responsible Investment survey (IRRI 2017)

The IRRI Survey is open for voting between 1st and 30th November and IR & CSR directors of quoted companies are encouraged to respond. Vote here.
The survey:

  • Recognises and rewards best practice in Independent Research for Responsible Investment (RI)
  • Identifies what asset managers value from their RI/Corporate Governance research providers and,
  • Measures & communicates on trends, opinions and developments within RI & CG research
  • Explores what research providers value from asset managers and companies

Corporate Reputation

Uber’s Israeli services halted by court injunction

Uber has been ordered to halt a trial service in Tel Aviv, which the company had hoped would pave the way for full operations in Israel. The Israeli court injunction against Uber is the latest in a string of international setbacks relating to sexual harassment, data privacy and business practices. Israel’s Transportation Ministry, Taxi Driver Union and a rival ride-hailing company won the injunction after complaining that the U.S. company used drivers who lacked the proper business licenses and insurance. Uber said it would comply with the Israeli court injunction, halting the UberNIGHT and UberDAY pilot services in the Tel Aviv area, but signalled that it hopes to reach a long-term accommodation to allow it to operate in the country. (Reuters)

Responsible Investment

European pension funds ramp up responsible investments

A new report by consultancy Create-Research has found that European pension funds are waking up to the risks posed by investment in fossil fuels and poorly run companies, with six in ten investors planning to increase their allocations to responsible investments over the next three years. As a result, there is increased investor demand for asset managers that are able to spot the risks associated with poor environmental or governance practices, as illustrated by scandals such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or the investigation into VW emissions.  Sixty-three per cent of investors said they were concerned about reputational or market risks, compared with 52 per cent who said their adoption of sustainability criteria was driven by returns. (Financial Times)*


Trump’s tax promises undercut by CEO plans to reward investors

Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. have said that they will turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class. The president has held onto to his pledge even as top executives’ comments have run counter to it for months. Instead of hiring more workers or raising their pay, many companies say they’ll first increase dividends or buy back their own shares. Trump has insisted that the Republican tax plan cut the U.S. corporate rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. (Bloomberg)


Shell in eye of the storm over ‘crimes’ in Ogoniland

Amnesty International is calling on Nigeria, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands to investigate Royal Dutch Shell over a series of alleged crimes committed by the Nigerian military government in Ogoniland in the 1990s. Internal memos and minutes from meetings allegedly show Shell lobbying senior government officials for military support, even after the security forces had carried out mass killings of protesters. They also show that on several occasions, Shell provided logistical or financial assistance to military or police personnel when it was aware that they had been involved in attacks on villagers. Shell has always denied that it was involved in the human rights violations, but there has never been an investigation into the allegations. Amnesty International has said it “will now be preparing a criminal file to submit to the relevant authorities, with a view to prosecution.”(The Guardian)


Israel/Palestine: UN settlement business data can stem abuse

The United Nations will publish a database of businesses that have enabled or profited from settlements by the end of December 2017, Human Rights Watch said yesterday. The UN database will publicly identify businesses that contribute to rights abuses by operating in or with settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It will build pressure on businesses to stop doing business in and with settlements in order to meet their human rights responsibilities. Companies have a responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to conduct due diligence and mitigate any harmful human rights impacts of their activities. Human Rights Watch states that business activity in settlements that make it possible for Israel to build and sustain the settlements, contributes to serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law. (Human Rights Watch)


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