Top Stories

August 13, 2018

Supply Chain

UK Government publishes Civil Society Strategy 

The UK government published its Civil Society Strategy last Thursday, promising that it will “build stronger communities by bringing together businesses, charities and the public sector”.  Key announcements include plans to unlock £20m from dormant charitable accounts and distribute it to community trusts and commitments to support corporate social responsibility, improve the take-up of the Social Value Act, and renewed commitments to grants and the principles of the Compact.  The government has pledged “a revival of grant-making” as part of its aim to “broaden the range of funding options for community initiatives” in the strategy. The strategy says the government aims to strengthen the Social Value Act, which requires people who commission public services to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits, and will look at expanding it to apply to grants and other areas of public decision making such as planning and community asset transfer. However, it says charities themselves need to improve their understanding of what social value is in order to be more successful in contract bids. (CivilSociety)

Gender Equality

The International Olympic Committee commissions move toward gender equality

The International Olympic Committee has announced that women will now occupy 30 more commission positions than last year.  In total, 42.7 per cent of the positions across the 26 IOC commissions will now be held by women. This represents an increase of 16.8 per cent in female participation compared to 2017 and an improvement of 98 per cent since 2013. The changes also include increases in the number of members from Africa and Oceania. President Bach said: “The IOC is continuing to increase female participation and geographical representation at every level of the Olympic Movement. We have made significant progress in the past few years and this work will continue. Universality is at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and it is this strength through diversity which unites us all.” (Olympic)

Nike hit with lawsuit from four women who allege gender discrimination

Four women who used to work for Nike have filed a federal lawsuit against the company, alleging it violated state and US equal-pay laws and fostered a work environment that allowed sexual harassment. The suit, filed on Thursday last week in Portland, is among the first to hit the company following complaints about alleged pay disparities and bad managers made public earlier this year, according to a report from the Oregonian/OregonLive. Nike responded by ousting at least 11 executives in March and April. Last month, the company’s top human-resources executive Monique Matheson acknowledged that Nike had failed to promote enough women. She wrote to staff to say the company wants “to create a culture of true inclusion. As part of our plan, we need to improve representation of women and people of color.” In July, after a review of compensation practices, Nike said it would give competitive pay-adjustments to 10%, or about 7,000 staff out of 74,000 employees around the world. (Guardian)

Corporate Reputation / Environment

Australia urged to restrict Monsanto’s Roundup after US court rules it caused cancer

Greenpeace has called on the Australian government to suspend the sale of the weedkiller Roundup after a US court ruled it had caused the terminal cancer of an American man. The jury also found that the manufacturer, Monsanto, “knew for decades” the product was potentially dangerous, and had failed to warn of the risks. The weedkiller is widely available in Australian supermarkets and hardware stores, and Greenpeace said the government must now take “urgent action” to restrict it. The active chemical in Roundup – glyphosate – was classified as “probably carcinogenic” in 2015 by the World Health Organisation. It is still approved for use in Australia, and is the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Monsanto’s vice president, Scott Partridge, has insisted that Roundup is safe, saying on Friday that the “verdict doesn’t change the four-plus decades of safe use and science behind the product”. (Guardian)


Brazil cuts emissions from deforestation two years ahead of schedule

Brazil has already hit its 2020 targets for emissions from deforestation, according to figures from the government. The Environment Ministry announced yesterday that overall emissions caused by deforestation in the Amazon rainforest were down by 610 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, the 2020 target was 564 million tonnes. “The policy message is that we can and should remain in the Paris Agreement; it is possible to effectively implement the commitments that have been made,” said climate minister Thiago Mendes, according to the Reuters news agency. Despite this progress, data released from the Global Forest Watch in June showed that a near-record amount of tree cover was lost in 2017.  “The main reason tropical forests are disappearing is not a mystery – vast areas continue to be cleared for soy, beef, palm oil, timber, and other globally traded commodities,” commented Frances Seymour of the World Resources Institute. (Climate Action Programme)


Image source: Olympic flag by Ryan Lejbak on FlikrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0.