- Apple, Google, Ikea among biggest corporate advocates for climate policy
- Lendlease joins Prince Charles in effort to create Great Barrier Reef refuges
- Recruiters order Sri Lankan women to take birth control before working in the Middle East
- Google is now buying more renewable energy than it uses
- Thai businesses must act to curb human rights abuses at home and abroad, says UN
Companies including Apple, Google and Ikea have earned top spots in a new ranking of the top 20 business leaders calling for more ambitious climate policy across the globe, the A-List of Climate Policy Engagement. To make this list, created by non-profit InfluenceMap, companies must showcase sectoral leadership, be vocal in calling for ambitious policies and align these calls with their own strategic activities. Over 30,000 pieces of evidence on 300 global companies and 75 leading trade associations were reviewed to calculate a ‘Total Score’ that expresses how supportive or obstructive the company is towards climate policy aligned with the Paris Agreement, with companies including Unilever and Tesla included in the ranking. Ties to trade associations or lobby groups that oppose climate policy had a negative influence on a company’s ranking and could disqualify it all together. Such links held back Microsoft, Nissan, Honda, and Moller Maersk. (Sustainable Brands)
Prince Charles has joined forces with major companies including Lendlease, BHP and Qantas, to create sanctuaries for animals and habitat threatened by climate change along the Great Barrier Reef, meeting for a roundtable on the new initiative. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is to establish a network of climate change refuges to protect critical habitats and species across five Great Barrier Reef islands – an effort that will be backed with a commitment of AU$5 million over ten years from Lendlease. The Australian federal government has matched the contribution from Lendlease with commitments from others taking support for the program to AU$14 million overall. Great Barrier Reef Foundation chairman John Schubert has said that “We’re proud to be working with companies like BHP, Lendlease and others together with our leading research organisations, government, local communities, international agencies, individuals and other not-for-profits because each has an important role to play for the Reef.” (Australian Financial Review)
Sri Lankan women who take up domestic work in the Middle East to support families devastated by conflict are being targeted by recruitment agents who order them to take contraceptives before leaving – with six recruiters, licensed by the Sri Lankan government, saying that they could provide an employer with a “three-month guarantee” that a maid would not become pregnant. While no women were prepared to speak openly about being forced to take contraceptives, the Guardian found that many recruitment agencies make migrant workers take Depo-Provera, an injectable contraceptive that lasts for three months. Rahini Bhaskaran, coordinator of Migrants Network, a migrant rights organisation, said women were so desperate for work that they complied unquestioningly with the stipulations of recruiters. Bhaskaran believes the contraceptive serves a double purpose: covering up potential sexual assaults by recruitment agents and serving as a guarantee to prospective employers in the Middle East that workers will not get pregnant. (Guardian)
Google has announced that it has met its goal of purchasing enough renewable energy to match the amount of power it consumes across all its global operations and is now buying more equivalent clean power than it uses at all its 15 data centres and multiple offices. In a blog announcing the news, Google said it now has contracts to purchase 3 gigawatts (GW) from renewable projects built specifically for the company. The practice of ‘matching’ energy use with renewable energy purchased and distributed elsewhere is now commonplace within business with Google admitting that it isn’t yet possible to directly power a company of its scale using 100 percent renewables. “What’s important to us is that we are adding new clean energy sources to the electrical system, and that we’re buying that renewable energy in the same amount as what we’re consuming, globally and on an annual basis”, said Urs Hölzle, Google’s Senior Vice President, for Technical Infrastructure. (Climate Action Programme)
Whilst Thailand’s fishing industry has made significant progress in curbing abuse, measures to prevent human rights violations must now be adopted in other sectors and by Thai firms operating overseas according to experts from the United Nations. The UN’s working group on business and human rights has said that the Thai government must also allow activists to speak up without fear of retribution and provide better protection for migrant workers. The multibillion-dollar seafood sector, where many migrants work, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years following investigations that found slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore processing facilities. The UN group, which made its first visit to the country on the invitation of the Thai government, met with officials, businesses and civil society organisations and is to submit a complete report detailing its findings in 2019. (Reuters Foundation)
Innovation Forum: How business can measure the impact – and ROI – of corporate sustainability
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