Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Climate Change, Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Ethics, Technology & Innovation

Top Stories

May 14, 2018


Google employees resign over controversial Pentagon drone AI project

Almost a dozen Google employees have resigned in protest over a controversial Pentagon drone AI project. The controversial project is known as Project Maven and is run by the US Defence Department. Maven aims to use machine learning to speed up the time it takes computers to analyse drone footage to identify people and objects. The employees are resigning dye to the ethical concerns they have over Google’s expertise being used in military technology that could lead to the loss of human life. The resignations follow a petition by over 4,000 Google employees asking the company to immediately cancel its Project Maven contract with the government and commit to a policy forbidding military work in the future. Google has thus far appeared unmoved by its employees’ concerns, continuing on with its Project Maven work. (Fast Company)

Technology & Innovation

HSBC says trade deal shows blockchain to be viable for trade finance

HSBC has announced that it has completed a transaction using blockchain which it said shows the technology is commercially viable for trade finance. Together with ING Bank, the London-based bank handled a letter of credit for Cargill which relied on the blockchain technology developed by the R3 consortium with the letter of credit backing a shipment of soybeans transported from Argentina to Malaysia. The transaction was an end-to-end trade between a buyer and a seller and their respective banks that was completed on one shared digital application rather than multiple systems, according to HSBC.  “This is an inflection point for how trade is conducted,” Vivek Ramachandran, HSBC’s global head of innovation and growth for commercial banking, said in the statement. “With blockchain, the need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous.” (Bloomberg)

Find out more: Check out Charlie Ashford’s article on the hype around blockchain!

Climate Change

Tesco cuts operational emissions by 13 percent in one year

Tesco has confirmed it remains on track to meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, after cutting its operational emissions 13 percent in 2017. The supermarket giant’s annual report confirmed that its operational emissions have now fallen 26 percent against a 2015/16 baseline. The performance puts the company broadly on track to meet its science-based target to cut operational emissions 35 percent by 2020, 60 percent by 2025, and 100 percent by 2050. Last year’s emissions reductions were driven in part by the company’s increased use of renewable power. Renewables’ share of Tesco’s group-wide electricity use rose to 55 percent, as it works towards a 100 percent target by 2030. However, the report also revealed that the company was struggling to make similar progress against its food waste targets, confirming it missed a goal to eliminate food waste from its operations by 2018, as waste levels rose last year. (BusinessGreen)

Costa Rica to become the world’s first zero-carbon country, vows president

Costa Rica’s newly elected president is vowing to take the historic step of decarbonising the entire country. President Carlos Alvarado made the pledge in his inauguration speech, in which he described the “titanic and beautiful task” of abolishing the use of fossil fuels. “Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation, and Costa Rica must be among the first countries in the world to achieve it, if not the first,” he said. He went on to set a target of 2020 for the country to be leading the way on progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement, aiming to become a “laboratory” for cleaning up the economy. The 2020 date is significant not only as the time in which the Paris accord comes into force, but closely precedes Costa Rica’s 200th anniversary of independence. “For the bicentennial we have an ethical duty to lead the world, as we have done in the past.” (Climate Action Programme)

Corporate Reputation

Telstra refuses to rule out using Chinese company ZTE, amid claims of corruption

Telstra has refused to rule out doing business with telecommunications supplier ZTE, which is shortlisted to build Australia’s high-speed mobile network, after claims the Chinese-based company is corrupt. Australia’s biggest telecommunications company has defended its high standards when choosing suppliers after revelations that ZTE has been involved in systemic foreign bribery and corrupt payments to government officials, but Telstra has not taken the Chinese telecommunications company off a shortlist of five companies that could build Australia’s 5G network. Telstra chief financial officer Warwick Bray said the company had noted reports about ZTE and that Telstra had “the strongest supplier governance and policies and we always review new material.” Later a Telstra spokesman refused to clarify whether the revelations about ZTE would see it scrubbed from the shortlist but did say the telecommunications company “will monitor this situation closely”. (Sydney Morning Herald)


AVPN Conference

Date: 4-5th June 2018
Location: Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre

Now in its sixth year, the AVPN Conference will bring together a diverse group of funders and resource providers from around the globe to take part in the largest gathering of social investors in Asia from grantmakers and impact investors to corporates and governments.This year’s theme, “Maximising Impact”, reflects the importance of driving strategic, collaborative, and outcome-oriented approaches to social investment. Through this lens, the conference will highlight opportunities and challenges for social investors and provide a platform for leaders across sectors to connect, learn and be thought leaders.

To register, please follow these steps:

  1. Visit us at https://2018.avpn.asia/registration/
  2. Select “Public” as your ticket type, and fill in the registration form
  3. When asked, “Where did you hear from us?”, please key in Corporate Citizenship.


Image Source: Sunset on a Pacific beach in Costa Rica by Vlad Podvorny on Flickr. CC B.Y. 2.0.