Top Stories

April 17, 2018


UK government promises £61 million to tackle ocean plastic pollution with Commonwealth nations

The UK government has created a £61.4 million war chest to fight the rising tide of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, calling on 52 Commonwealth leaders to sign up to a strategy to help developing nations in the group to research and improve their waste management. Four countries have already joined the UK in the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance: New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Ghana. It has been announced that £25 million of the fund would be used to help researchers investigate marine plastic from a scientific, economic and social perspective. A further £20 million will be used to curb plastic and other environmental pollution generated by manufacturing in developing countries and prevent it from entering the oceans with the remaining £16.4 million devoted to improving waste management at a national and a city level. The government has additionally pledged to match pound-for-pound public donations to tackle plastic waste via the UK Aid Match scheme, up to a total of £5 million. (Independent)

Responsible Investment

Investors, with $1 trillion, put weight behind call for big brands to step up climate targets

Investors managing over $1 trillion USD, coordinated by ShareAction, are calling on companies around the world to drastically reduce the impact of their operations on the planet, and protect the financial assets they manage from climate change. Over 60 major shareholders such as Aegon Asset Management, Candriam Investors Group, and Ethos Foundation have sent letters to the chief executive of 15 companies including big brands like Morrisons, Netflix and The Walt Disney Company, and high carbon emitters from the power generation and cement sectors. The Investor Decarbonisation Initiative are encouraging the companies they own to set ambitious science-based climate targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and to commit to cleaner energy. In the letters, investors say they want “to invest in environmentally and financially sustainable companies that are prepared for and contributing to the low-carbon economy.” (ShareAction)


Santander chair calls EU rules on payments unfair

Santander’s executive chairman, Ana Botín, has called for the EU’s flagship new payments regulation to be reformed to avoid hamstringing banks’ ability to compete with large technology groups. Under the EU’s Second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) banks are required to give third parties access to customer data, allowing rivals to offer new services such as letting online shoppers see their bank balance and pay directly from their account. However, while the legislation allows tech groups to combine information from banks with their own customer data to make more personalised products, it does not entitle banks to access other companies’ data in the same way. So far most of the companies offering services under the new rules have been smaller fintech groups, but there remains a growing concern in the sector about the threat posed by larger potential rival for example Amazon, that is reportedly in talks with JPMorgan Chase to develop a checking account-like product. (Financial Times*)


New Green-e Renewable Energy Standard for Chile launches pilot with Viña Concha y Toro

San Francisco-based NGO Centre for Resource Solutions (CRS) is developing a new standard for certifying the sale and use of green power in Chile through its Green-e certification program, the Green-e Renewable Energy Standard for Chile. The new Standard will address the strong demand for third-party oversight of clean energy use from both multinational and local Chilean companies, as well as establish guidance for consistent, credible, and impactful renewable energy purchasing options that will help spur market development in Chile. It will provide Chile-specific requirements for renewable energy transactions that occur through green power offerings, tradable certificate products, direct power purchase agreements and onsite generation. During the development of the Standard Green-e will conduct a pilot certification process with Chile-based Viña Concha y Toro, one of the world’s largest wine producers, to verify its renewable energy procurement. (3bl Media)


Former Wells Fargo trader sues bank, claims wrongful termination due to plan to complain to regulators

Wells Fargo’s former top currency trader has sued the San Francisco bank, alleging wrongful termination, saying he was fired in 2017 because he planned to complain to regulators about the foreign exchange desk’s incentive-pay system. Simon Fowles was one of four currency traders fired in October 2017, about the same time that news reports surfaced that federal regulators were investigating the business, including a focus on one currency transaction made on behalf of Burger King’s parent company. Fowles alleges that he “made it very clear he intended to inform federal regulators of the significant ethical, legal and regulatory issues” he had complained about internally and that he was terminated just days before he was supposed to meet with regulators. Incentive compensation was also at the heart of the bank’s unauthorized accounts scandal, which led to a $185-million settlement with the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and other regulators in 2016. (Los Angeles Times)


*Subscription required

Image Source: 01 Visita Viña Concha y Toro (35) by [o] Rolando Vejar on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.