- Kellogg latest company to pull out of Venezuela
- Carillion bosses drove construction firm off a cliff, say MPs
- Amazon to open checkout-free stores in Chicago and San Francisco
- Report: WWF argues the UK does not need to turn to gas
- Report: 24 million jobs to open up by 2030 to support greener economy
US food company Kellogg has become the latest multinational to pull out of crisis-torn Venezuela at a time of severe food shortages. “The current economic and social deterioration in the country has… prompted the company to discontinue operations,” Kellogg said in a statement. “Kellogg continues to be committed to Latin America and we look forward to resuming operations in Venezuela in the future, as soon as the conditions of the country allow it.” Kellogg follows a string of global companies in abandoning Venezuela with Kimberly-Clark, General Motors and a host of airlines having all ceased operations in the country, blaming the dire economic conditions. Food companies have complained that they cannot access the raw materials they need to operate. They also face strict currency controls and government decrees that prevent them from raising their sales prices to keep pace with inflation. (Financial Times*)
The Work and Pensions and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committees have concluded that Carillion’s board presided over a “rotten corporate culture” and was culpable for its “costly collapse”. In their 100-page report the committees call for a potential break-up of the big four audit firms, after they “waved through” the indebted construction firm’s accounts and attack the government for lacking “decisiveness and bravery” to tackle corporate regulation failures. Former directors Richard Adam, Richard Howson and Philip Green were singled out, with it suggested that the men had grown the firm through ill-judged acquisitions while hiding Carillion’s financial problems from shareholders. They added that even as the company publicly began to unravel, the board was “concerned with increasing and protecting generous executive bonuses” and that during parliamentary hearings the directors had presented themselves as victims of “unforeseeable mishaps”. (BBC)
Amazon is bringing its grocery store without checkout lines to Chicago and San Francisco, the company as announced, confirming reports it will expand the concept beyond its pilot in Seattle. Known as Amazon Go, the store is fashioned after small grocery shops with a crucial difference: it has no cashiers. Customers scan a smartphone app to enter the store, and then cameras and sensors track what they remove from the shelves and what they put back. Amazon then bills shoppers’ credit cards on file after they leave. It is not clear when the new stores will open but Amazon have already posted job listings for Amazon Go store managers in San Francisco and Chicago. The concept has the potential to alter brick-and-mortar retail and has spawned similar designs from start-ups hoping to sell the technology to other retailers. (Reuters)
The UK has no need to build new large gas-fired power stations to replace the coal plants that the UK government has pledged to switch off by 2025, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has argued in its new report – From Coal to Clean. They suggest that the gap can instead by filled by renewables, battery storage and flexible technologies, allowing the UK to go from “coal to clean” and skip new gas completely. This analysis challenges the orthodoxy that phasing out coal with require large new gas plants with WWF finding, based on official government forecasts, that the growth in electricity produced by wind, solar and other renewables would more than replace the lost power from old coal plants. “It is essential the government does not substitute one dirty power source for another.” said Gareth Redmond-King, WWF’s head of climate and energy. (Guardian)
A flagship report, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, produced by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests that 24 million jobs will be created globally by 2030 as part of the move towards a greener economy. The study shows that 2.5 million jobs will be created in renewable-based electricity, offsetting some 400,00 jobs to be lost in fossil fuel-based electricity generation. It is also thought that 6 million jobs can be created by transitioning towards a “circular economy” – including activities like recycling, repair, rent and remanufacture, replacing the traditional and current model of extracting, making, using and disposing. The report, however, also outlines the associated need for countries to upskill their workers in areas that are needed for a painless transition to a greener economy and to ensure social protection measures are in place to prevent the possibility of poverty and vulnerability within households and communities as they transition into new jobs. (Open Access Government)
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