Top Stories

March 15, 2018

Responsible Investment

Report: Pensions industry needs to engage with millennials to encourage pension saving

A new report from ShareAction suggests that there is an urgent need for the pension industry to engage with young savers, who are not saving enough to generate a decent retirement. The report, Pensions for the Next Generation: Communicating What Matters, looks at how policy-makers and the pensions industry could encourage greater saving through innovative communication and engagement with savers. It suggests that if an individual feels no connection to their pension, it is likely that they may choose the immediate benefit of greater take-home pay over saving for a distant retirement. It says that millennials in particular are interested in understanding the impact their money is having on the world around them, and encourages pension firms to “help people connect emotionally” with their money. (ShareAction)

Find out more: Corporate Citizenship is collecting insights on the alignment between corporate sustainability plans and workplace pensions. Complete our survey here.

Corporate Reputation

Clinical trials tracker: In just three weeks, US government failed to levy $13 million pharma fines

Pharmaceutical companies that fail to report the results of their clinical trials are being named on a new website set up by the AllTrials campaign group. It is estimated that nearly half of all trials go unpublished, compromising patient care. In recent years, many companies have promised to improve transparency, but an audit of 42 top manufacturers last year found massive variations in reporting. While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to fine trial sponsors up to $10,000 per day when they fail to publish results, it has so far failed to issue a single fine. Since the launch of the FDAAA Trials Tracker site last month, AllTrials has been sending weekly letters to the FDA with a list of trials that have breached the requirements. So far, 93 out of 248 trials have missed the reporting deadline, meaning the US government could have imposed over $13 million in fines. Pharma companies and academic institutions so far named include Bayer, Takeda, Verastem, the Universities of Chicago, California and Texas, as well as the FDA itself. (PMLive; AllTrials)


Theranos accused of “elaborate, years-long fraud” by SEC

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the blood-testing start-up Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes with an “elaborate, years-long fraud”. The SEC alleges that investors sank more than $700 million into Theranos, swayed by exaggerations and misrepresentations of its proprietary blood-testing technology. Holmes and Theranos have not admitted or denied the allegations, but they have resolved the case. As part of Holmes’s settlement, she agreed to a $500,000 fine and a 10-year ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company. She will relinquish her majority voting control of the company and give up significant equity. (Washington Post)

Supply Chain

Lush launches campaign targeting palm oil industry in Asia

Cosmetics company Lush is launching an Asia-wide campaign to promote a new palm oil-free shampoo that draws attention to the environmental destructiveness of the palm oil industry. Lush has teamed up with conservation charity Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) for the campaign and all funds raised from sales will go towards converting a disused palm oil plantation into a permaculture demonstration site and conservation training hub in Sumatra. The company’s SOS Sumatra campaign will run in all the markets where it has presence – Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The aim of the SOS Sumatra campaign is to raise awareness of ecological issues and show that there are other greener growing options that can provide sufficient income for farmers. (Eco-Business)


Mossack Fonseca law firm to shut down after Panama Papers tax scandal

The Panamanian law firm Mossak Fonseca, which was at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal has announced it is shutting down. Directors of Mossack Fonseca blamed the economic and reputational damage inflicted by its role in the global tax evasion debacle for the closure. Leaked files from the company were the basis of the Panama Papers investigation in early 2016, provoking a global scandal after showing how the rich and powerful used offshore corporations to evade taxes. “The reputational deterioration, the media campaign, the financial circus and the unusual actions by certain Panamanian authorities, have occasioned an irreversible damage that necessitates the obligatory ceasing of public operations at the end of the current month,” the firm said in a statement. (Guardian)


Image Source: Lush Retro Order by Corey Balazowich on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.