Top Stories

July 02, 2018

Corporate Reputation

JUST Capital launches interactive tool to rank US companies on environmental impact

JUST Capital has announced the launch of a new interactive tool enabling users to evaluate the largest US companies based on their environmental impact. The Environmental Explorer, which is freely available, enables users to custom-rank the 1,000- largest public US companies on specific environmental issues, including pollution and environmental management, as well as specific impacts, such as greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous spills, water, fuel, electricity usage, and waste recycled. It is intended for use by business leaders, policymakers, advocacy groups, investors, and the general public wishing to see which companies are best in class on these important issues. “The Environmental Explorer sheds light on which companies are really moving the needle on reducing environmental impacts, which the American people have said is one of the key priorities of just business behaviour,” said Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital. “By measuring companies based on what really matters to people and the planet, we can advance a more just economy.” (Sustainable Brands)

Sustainable Investment

Pension funds snap up £701 million stake in EDF Renewables wind farms

The growing interest from pension funds and infrastructure investors in renewables projects has been once again demonstrated, as Dalmore Capital Limited and Pensions Infrastructure Platform snapped up a £701 million stake in 24 UK wind farms owned by EDF Renewables. The investment, which sees the firms acquire a 49 percent minority stake in the 550MW portfolio, was backed with investment from large UK local authority pension schemes. Under the terms of the partnership EDF Renewables will continue to run the sites and to provide operations, maintenance, and asset management services. Alistair Ray, CIO of Dalmore Capital, stressed the attractiveness of renewables to pension funds. “Dalmore, on behalf of its investors, which include over two million UK pensioners, is very pleased to have led this acquisition to become a partner with EDF, a leading global utility, in this asset which makes a significant contribution to the UK’s clean energy supply. We look forward to working in partnership with EDF in delivering clean energy for the UK.” (BusinessGreen)


Australian plastic bag ban sparks abuse and violence from angry shoppers

Supermarket staff in Australia have faced abuse and violence from shoppers angry at the removal of plastic bags as a ban comes into force. Customers rebelling against the end of free single-use plastic bags have taken out their frustration on staff, prompting warnings to them to be considerate. Major retailers in Western Australia and Queensland now face fines if they supply single-use plastic bags – which were already banned in Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The union that represents shop assistants has launched a public awareness campaign warning people not to abuse retail staff following a shopper putting his hands around the throat of an employee at a Woolworths in Western Australia that had stopped giving out free plastic bags days before the ban came into force. (Independent)


Companies under strain from GDPR requests

Just over a month after the EU introduced some of history’s toughest data protection rules, companies are being inundated with correspondence about their use of personal information, straining resources as they adapt to the new regime. With the General Data Protection Regulation including new rights for people to know how their data is used, and to decide whether it is shared or deleted, businesses and regulators are being overwhelmed with complaints. Facebook, which has also been hit by a damaging scandal about the leak of user data to Cambridge Analytica, said it had seen a three or fourfold increase in questions after the introduction of GDPR. Some companies have taken drastic measures to avoid non-compliance. Immediately after GDPR came into effect, a number of businesses suspended their services in Europe, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and apps including, which helps users unsubscribe from email spam. (Financial Times*)

Environment / Policy

China could impose “special emissions” limits on firms in up to 80 cities

China could impose “special emissions restrictions” on industrial firms in as many as 80 cities, extending the program from the current 28. China said in January 2018 that it would force industrial firms in 28 northern Chinese cities to meet tough new emissions curbs in a bid to cut smog in the heavily polluted Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. Enterprises in the thermal power, steel, petrochemical, chemical, non-ferrous metals and cement sectors will be forced to comply with as many as 25 new emissions standards by October 2018, with coking coal producers given another year to make the required adjustments. “As China increases curbs on emissions, I believe the measures will be expanded to more regions,” said Tian Weiyong, head of environmental inspections at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. “But we might start with tighter emission standards in the 80 cities,” he told reporters during a briefing in Beijing. (Reuters)


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Image source: Very, very smoggy Shanghai by gmoorenator on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.