Top Stories

June 20, 2018

Corporate Reputation

US businesses speak out against Trump border policy

US business leaders have condemned the Trump administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from migrants crossing America’s southern border illegally, in the latest test of corporate America’s increasingly strained relationship with the White House. In a strongly worded statement, Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce president, appealed to the administration to end the practice. “This is not who we are and it must end now,” he said. The Chamber, one of the largest business lobby groups in Washington, also urged the government to end its threat to deport young “Dreamers” who came to the US as children. The technology sector added to the calls for a change of course with Microsoft saying it was “dismayed” by a practice that it said ran counter to “a fundamental tenet of American policy and law since the end of World War II”. The CEOs of Apple, Box, eBay, Reddit and Uber also made statements, saying that separating families was “immoral”, “inhumane” or “reprehensible”. (Financial Times*)

Climate Change

Report: EU climate efforts not living up to Paris promises

Many EU countries are veering off the course of action they committed to under the Paris Agreement, according to a new report published by the NGO Climate Action Network (Can) Europe. The report ranks countries on a combination of factors, including their likelihood of reaching their EU 2020 targets and their relative ambition in setting additional targets beyond what was established at the Paris Agreement. Sweden takes the top spot in Can’s ranking, as they look on course to meet their 2020 domestic climate and energy targets, and have significantly upgraded their ambition since the Paris Agreement to become carbon neutral by 2045. On the other end of the scale is Ireland, ranked second to last, with the country set to miss its 2020 climate and renewable energy targets of a 20 percent reduction on 2005 emission levels and at least 16 percent of energy use produced from renewable sources. (Climate Home News)

Environment / Policy

UK microbead ban comes into full effect

The UK government’s landmark ban on the sale of cosmetic and personal care products containing plastic microbeads has come into full effect, in a move that is expected to stop billions of pieces of microscopic plastic entering the oceans. The move was first announced as part of the first wave of commitments from the government to crack down on marine plastic pollution with retailers in England and Scotland no longer able to sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products that contain microbeads. This follows a ban in January 2018 on the UK manufacture of products containing microbeads. The ban is expected to be widely honoured, with manufacturers and retailers moving swiftly to phase out the use of microbeads in products such as face scrubs, toothpaste and shower gels. (BusinessGreen)


Verizon to stop selling phone location data to third parties

Verizon has announced that it will stop selling its customers’ phone location data to third parties after an investigation by a US Senator found law enforcement agencies were able to use the data to track people without their consent. The move by Verizon comes as consumers and lawmakers are increasingly concerned about privacy and security amid data breaches by tech firms, including Facebook. Following his investigation Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon contacted the major carriers to inform them that a prison phone company called Securus Technologies with access to aggregated location data had allowed law enforcement to use it to track people. AT&T and T-Mobile US said in letters to Wyden that they have blocked the prison phone company from accessing customer data, but stopped short of saying they would stop selling the location data to others. (Reuters)


US government to spend $18.5 million on offshore wind research

The US Department of Energy has announced new funding to explore the viability of building offshore wind in the country. New York State has been selected by the department to lead a consortium of experts to explore new areas to develop offshore wind on the East Coast. $18.5 million will be used to research areas such as deep-water turbines, the impact of hurricanes, seabed conditions and how to construct wind farms in challenging environments. This will have the overall aim of reducing offshore wind costs to bring forward more projects. New York’s energy research body, NYSERDA, will lead the work and provide match funding over the four-year project. It will engage the private sector to ensure the research continues after federal funding ends. (Climate Action Programme)


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Image sourcefrontera by Brooke Binkowski on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.