Top Stories

February 07, 2018


Ex-Facebook and Google employees start anti-tech addiction campaign

A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build. In addition to creating the Centre for Humane Technology, a union of concerned experts, they are planning to work alongside non-profit media watchdog group Common Sense Media to coordinate an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort as well as an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools in the United States – to be titled “The Truth About Tech”. This move follows the increasing prevalence of debates regarding the effect of technology on younger minds including Wall Street investors asking Apple to study the health effects of its products and make it easier to limit children’s use of said products. (The New York Times)


United Nations inquiry into sexual assault “grossly mishandled”, claim campaigners

A UN agency has “grossly mishandled” an investigation into claims of sexual harassment and assault by a high-ranking official, claims the campaign group Code Blue in an open letter to the UN’s secretary general. Last week, UNAids concluded that allegations against Luiz Loures, an assistant secretary general of the UN, and deputy executive director of programme at UNAids, were not substantiated. In the open letter, Code Blue alleged that the investigation was undermined by a conflict of interest, with the executive director of UNAids, Michel Sidibé, acting both as a witness and as the “final decision-maker” in the case. The group called for the UN secretary general to review the allegations and hand the investigation over to an “external, neutral and independent body”. (The Guardian)

Tesco equal pay claim could cost company up to £4 billion

Tesco is facing a demand for up to £4bn in back pay from thousands of mainly female shopworkers in what could become the UK’s largest ever equal pay claim. The law firm Leigh Day has launched legal action on behalf of nearly 100 shop assistants who say they earn as much as £3 an hour less than male warehouse workers in similar roles. Up to 200,000 shopfloor staff could be affected by the claim, which could cost Tesco up to £20,000 per worker in back pay over at least six years. The case follows similar actions against Asda and Sainsbury’s. Nearly 20,000 people are involved in an Asda case, where the latest ruling backed the shopworkers’ right to compare their jobs to employees – mainly men – working in distribution centres, a ruling Asda is due to appeal. (The Guardian)

Climate Change

Oil majors to face hearings in London, New York and Manila over Philippines climate impact

The Philippines Human Rights Commission is set to confront carbon majors (including Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP) over their climate change impact with hearings in Manila, New York and London this year. Responding to a petition that seeks to hold 47 companies accountable for Philippine communities suffering from extreme weather, the commission is now taking its inquiries overseas in an acknowledgment that many respondent companies would be unwilling to travel to Manila. Half of the 47 companies, whose products generated around a fifth of historic greenhouse gas emissions, did not respond with those that did questioning the commission’s jurisdiction to bring such claims. Commissioner Roberto Cadiz urged the targeted companies, which include Chevron, ExxonMobil and BP, to engage to demonstrate they are committed to being part of the solution. Ahead of the hearings, taking place from March, the next step for the commission is to establish the degree to which changes in lived experience, associated with intense tropical storms and environmental changes can be attributed to climate change and the extent of the respondents’ responsibility. (Climate Change News)

Supply Chain

Bridgestone Corporation unveils sustainable rubber procurement policy

Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, has become the latest tire company to unveil a wide-ranging new sustainability strategy designed to end deforestation and curb environmental impacts in its global supply chain. The policy aims to support Bridgestone’s goal of using “100 percent sustainable materials” in its products by 2050 and will address concerns regarding the sourcing of natural rubber driving deforestation and poor labour practices. The policy will require suppliers to ensure products are traceable, comply with all local laws and regulations, ensure materials are of high quality and reasonable cost, and have in place sustainable procurement practices. This move has been well-received by campaign group Mighty Earth with Campaign Director Kristin Urquiza stating that “With Bridgestone’s announcement, deforestation-free rubber production is becoming the standard market expectation.” (Business Green)


Social Value Summit

The fifth Social Value Summit, the leading event in its field, will take place on 28th February in London. The Summit brings together more than 350 commissioners and providers from across the public, private and social sectors.

This year, the event will cover not only current best practice, but also future challenges and opportunities, asking the questions:

  • Does Brexit provide an opportunity for social value to grow?
  • Are devolved areas where the greatest potential is?
  • How do we use social value to tackle our employment challenge?

Click here to buy your tickets and read the agenda


Image Source: IMG_6370 by hardwarehank on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.