Top Stories

June 27, 2018

Corporate Reputation

Uber wins 15-month probationary licence to work in London

Uber will be able to continue operating in London, after a court decided the ride-hailing firm should be awarded a new 15-month probationary licence, after being told of sweeping changes to its practices. At the start of the two-day hearing, Uber admitted that London’s original decision not to renew its five-year licence had been correct. The chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, said Uber had not been a fit and proper firm but now, taking into account its new governance, she found it fit and proper to hold a licence. Uber’s lawyers told the court that after wholesale changes, and the appointment of new management in the UK to ensure full compliance with regulations, it had fully passed TfL’s three latest inspections. Beyond compliance with London’s regulations, Uber has also offered some improved conditions for UK drivers, including limited insurance, limits on working hours and a 24-hour phone line for support. But it has continued to fight employment tribunal rulings giving rights to its so-called “partners”, leading to accusations of whitewashing rather than substantive change. (Guardian)


3M launches one of Singapore’s largest solar farms

One of Singapore’s largest solar farms, which can produce enough energy to power 500 four-room Housing Board flats, has officially opened. The 14,000 m2 farm lies on the roof of science firm 3M’s manufacturing plant in Tuas, boasting 6,605 solar panels and 55 inverters. It can generate 2,400 megawatt hours of electricity a year. The firm said the solar farm will help it reach its 2025 goal of using renewable energy to power a quarter of its global operations. Speaking at the opening, 3M Singapore’s managing director Yuko Nakahira said: “As we expand our presence in Singapore, 3M is looking into ways to foster more collaborations with local and regional partners, and develop Asia-centric solutions that address our customers’ sustainability challenges.” The firm’s solar efforts join moves by public and private players to make Singapore more reliant on power from the sun. (Straits Times)


Facebook to reverse ban on cryptocurrency ads

Facebook is reversing the ban it placed on cryptocurrency ads in January 2018, although advertisers will have to be pre-approved and ads related to initial coin offerings or binary options will still be prohibited. Facebook’s original ban was intentionally broad at a time when cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were booming, and the largely unregulated space was spawning high-profile scams. Following Facebook’s lead, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat all instituted similar bans in 2018. Facebook’s first policy, aimed at all “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” stopped even legitimate businesses from buying advertisements. Now, however, interested advertisers can fill out an application that includes information on licensing and whether their currency is publicly traded to help Facebook determine their eligibility. (CNBC)


One football pitch of forest lost every second in 2017

The world lost more than one football pitch of forest every second in 2017, according to new data from a global satellite survey, adding up to an area equivalent to the whole of Italy over the year. The scale of tree destruction, much of it done illegally, poses a great threat to tackling both climate change and the massive global decline in wildlife. The loss in 2017 recorded by Global Forest Watch was 29.4 million hectares, the second highest recorded since the monitoring began in 2001. Global tree cover losses have doubled since 2003, while deforestation in crucial tropical rainforest has doubled since 2008. A falling trend in Brazil has been reversed amid political instability and forest destruction has soared in Colombia. However, in Indonesia, deforestation dropped 60 percent in 2017, helped by fewer forest fires and government action. Forest losses are a huge contributor to the carbon emissions driving global warming, about the same as total emissions from the US, which is the world’s second biggest polluter. (Guardian)

Technology & Innovation

VW opens Chinese ‘mega-factory’ to accelerate electric vehicles

German car company Volkswagen has opened a major new factory in China designed to strengthen its position in the Asian electric vehicle market. VW opened the plant in Foshan, near Hong Kong, which will allow the manufacturer to double production at the site from 300,000 to 600,000 cars a year. Roadmap E, launched in September 2017, will see VW invest 20 billion euros in electric vehicles and bring 80 new models to the market by 2025. Foshan will soon produce the latest electrified vehicles and by 2020 pure battery cars will be introduced to the site’s production line. In China VW is working in joint venture with the state-owned FAW group to produce 1.5 million EVs per year by 2025, and 40 locally produced models. VW has been trying to re-establish its environmental credentials after the 2015 emissions scandal, having paid out billions in fines across the US and Europe because of the scandal. (Climate Action Programme)


Image source: magic forest by Bernhard Latzko on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.