Top Stories

June 11, 2018


UK to force big companies to publish worker to boss pay gap

Britain’s biggest companies will, from 2020, be legally required to publish the gap between the salary of their chief executive and what they pay their average UK worker, under proposed new government rules. Business minister Greg Clark said that the UK government would set out new laws in Parliament on Monday which meant that UK-listed companies with more than 250 employees would have to reveal their pay gap and justify their CEO’s salary. “We understand the anger of workers and shareholders when bosses’ pay is out of step with company performance,” Clark said in a statement. He said new laws would improve transparency and boost accountability for both shareholders and workers, as well as helping to “build a fairer economy”. Some campaigners and investors, however, have questioned whether the greater transparency provided by disclosure on boss to worker pay will be enough to force companies to curb pay excesses. (Reuters)

Sustainable Investment

Legal & General to step up activism over climate change

Europe’s second-largest fund manager will vote against reappointing the chairmen of eight global companies, including Occidental Petroleum, Subaru and China Construction Bank, in protest at their slow progress in moving to a greener economy. In a sign of how investors are worried about the impact of global warming on their returns, Legal & General Investment Management said its £5 billion Future World fund range would also sell out of the companies over their response to climate change. “There has been a lot of conversations about climate change,” said Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at LGIM. “But the speed and urgency hasn’t been in place and we wanted to inject that. We have a real chance to tackle this issue.” “We wanted… an impactful way of changing company behaviour and making sure everyone steps up,” she said. (Financial Times*)

Climate Change

Pope Francis tells oil bosses world must reduce fossil fuel use

Pope Francis has told oil company chiefs that the world must switch to clean energy because climate change risks destroying humanity. “Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation,” he said at the end of a two-day conference at the Vatican. The unprecedented conference, held behind closed doors at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, brought together oil executives, investors and Vatican experts. “We know that the challenges facing us are interconnected. If we are to eliminate poverty and hunger … the more than 1 billion people without electricity today need to gain access to it,” Francis told them. “But that energy should also be clean, by a reduction in the systematic use of fossil fuels. Our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments and increased levels of poverty,” he said. (Guardian)

Supply Chain

Amazon blasted over China Echo factory conditions

A watchdog is calling on Amazon to improve conditions for factory workers in China who make Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers, renewing criticisms that CEO Jeff Bezos became the world’s wealthiest man on the backs of low-paid laborers. The New York-based China Labour Watch released a report following a nine-month investigation of working conditions at a factory in the city of Hengyang owned by Hon Hai Precisions Industry, the company known as Foxconn, which manufactures products for Amazon. The report’s findings include workers being required to work more than 100 hours of monthly overtime in violation of Chinese labour law that limits overtime to 36 hours a month and employees not receiving adequate safety training. “All workers are subject to long hours and low wages,” the report stated. “As wages are low, workers must rely on overtime hours to earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living.” (Bloomberg)


American Express to release ocean plastic credit card

Credit card giant American Express has become the latest company to cut its plastic footprint, announcing a plan to release a new credit card made from ocean plastic. The card currently exists in prototype form and will be released to its customers within the next year. Made “primarily” of recovered coastal and ocean plastic, the firm said it hoped the move would help reduce the volume of plastic waste in the oceans and raise consumer awareness of the issue. The ocean plastic card is the result of a new partnership between American Express and ocean plastic campaign group Parley. As part of the collaboration American Express also promised to reduce its plastic use across the rest of its business, including reducing the proportion of virgin plastic in its cards, phasing out plastic straws and stirrers at its offices, and establishing a comprehensive waste reduction strategy by the end of 2018. (BusinessGreen)


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Image source: [342] Echo by Rob Brewer on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.