Top Stories

July 16, 2018

Corporate Reputation / Waste

Adidas vows to use only recycled plastics by 2024

Adidas is planning to use only recycled polyester in all its shoes and clothing within the next six years in a push to increase the sustainability of its supply chain. The shift would see the world’s second largest sportswear brand, which launched the first mass-produced running shoe made from recycled water bottles in 2016, target 5 million in sales of recycled footwear this year and 11 million in 2019. “Our goal is to get rid of virgin polyester overall by 2024,” said Eric Liedtke head of Adidas’ global brands. He said about 50 percent of the material used in the 920 million individual items Adidas sells is polyester, adding: “With those kind of volumes, we cannot make the transition overnight.” Adidas’s move comes as more brands embrace recycled materials, in part to burnish their green credentials and increase their appeal as an anti-plastics movement has swept across the UK and Europe. (Financial Times*)


Senior executives face clampdown on selling share awards

Senior executives will face restrictions on when they can sell shares awarded under long-term incentive schemes, according to new corporate governance rules unveiled by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The Financial Reporting Council said: “Share awards granted for this purpose should be released for sale on a phased basis and be subject to a total vesting and holding period of five years or more. The new corporate governance rules will also let companies withhold pay if necessary. The changes are part of a revamp of the UK corporate governance code, which calls on company boards to engage more with their workforces and take more account of staff remuneration when setting executive pay levels. The FRC called on company shareholders to play their part in holding boards to account: “Investors and proxy advisors must assess explanations carefully and not take a tick-box approach.” (Guardian)

Technology/ Ethics

Microsoft calls for federal regulation of facial recognition technology

Microsoft President Brad Smith has published a blog post calling for government regulation of facial recognition technology. Smith doesn’t identify specific rules; rather, he suggests, among other things, that the US government create a “bipartisan and expert commission” to study the issue and make recommendations. Smith poses a series of questions such a commission should consider, including potential restrictions on law-enforcement or national-security uses of the technology; standards to prevent racial profiling; requirements that people be notified when the technology is being used, particularly in public spaces; and legal protections for people who may be misidentified. Beyond government regulation, Smith says Microsoft and other tech companies should take more responsibility for their use of the technology. That includes efforts to act transparently, reduce bias, and deploy the technology slowly and cautiously. (Wired)


Chile’s Zaldívar mine to operate with 100 percent renewable energy

A copper mine in Chile has become the first in the country to operate with 100 percent renewable energy. Antofagasta Minerals has announced that it has signed a long-term contract between Zaldívar (in which it owns 50 percent of the company) and Colbun S.A. The contract will see the Zaldívar copper mine supplied with clean energy, removing emissions equivalent to 350,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year. In supplying 550 GWh/year, Zaldívar will be the first copper mine in Chile that will use only sources of renewable generation to supply its electricity needs, which will be equivalent to about 87,000 vehicles per year. “This agreement continues our move to become a more sustainable mining operation, with clean energy reducing the emissions of gases that cause climate change. In addition, as a result of a competitive tender process, we have managed to reduce Zaldívar’s future energy costs”, said the CEO of Antofagasta Minerals, Iván Arriagada. (Mining Global)


Seven fast food chains to end “no poach” deals that lock down low-wage workers

Seven major US restaurant chains, including Carl’s Jr. and McDonald’s have agreed to drop a hiring practice that critics say may be keeping tens of thousands of fast-food workers locked in low-wage jobs. Under agreements with Washington State, the companies have pledged to remove so-called no-poach clauses from their contracts with franchisees. The provisions prohibit workers at, for example, one Carl’s Jr. franchise from going to another Carl’s Jr. In addition to stripping the clauses from existing franchise contracts in Washington, the chains have also vowed not to enforce them nationwide. The clauses cannot be included in new and renewed contracts either. No-poach clauses have drawn scrutiny over whether they hold down pay for restaurant employees — one of the largest segments of the United States work force — and contribute to a broader wage stagnation that continues to plague the economy long after the end of the recession. (New York Times)


*Subscription required

Image source: 2015 Best of Sneaker ? by @adidas with Parley for the Oceans by designmilk on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.