Top Stories

August 30, 2018

Corporate Governance

Volkswagen’s lack of corporate transparency still a problem

Nearly three years after Volkswagen admitted to a vast emissions cheating scheme, the company has only just begun to take steps necessary to prevent future scandals, according to a report issued by Larry D. Thompson, a prominent American lawyer appointed to monitor the company’s behaviour. Among other things, Volkswagen still has work to do to create an adequate whistle-blower program, Thompson wrote in the report. The implication is that Volkswagen has made insufficient progress toward repairing the shortcomings in company culture and internal controls that led to one of the biggest corporate scandals ever. The report also underscored how much Volkswagen continues to struggle with the consequences of the scandal, which came to light in September 2015. In a report in April that dealt with the criminal charges, Mr. Thompson faulted the company for failing to hold executives accountable and moving too slowly to remake the corporate culture. (TriplePundit; New York Times)

Supply Chain

GlobeScan, Sustainable Apparel Coalition partner on consumer engagement initiative

Research consultancy GlobeScan and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) have partnered on a study to develop communication guidelines and materials for engaging consumers on the Higg Index – the SAC’s suite of tools for measuring sustainability performance across the textile industry value chain. GlobeScan will work with the SAC and its members to identify what consumers want to know about the sustainability credentials of products, brands and manufacturers, and how different channels and content can guide them in their purchase decisions. Caroline Holme, Director at GlobeScan said: “We want to help the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and its members to engage their customers as effectively as possible. Our analysis shows that transparency is the top driver for rebuilding trust, but more than half of consumers across the world say that companies do not communicate honestly about social or environmental initiatives.” (Sustainable Brands)


Lucozade to trial edible drinks sachets to reduce single-use plastic at sports events

Beverage giant Lucozade Ribena Suntory is set to trial edible drinks sachets made from seaweed at two UK sports events next month, in an effort to gauge the consumer appetite for plastic-free alternatives to single-use bottles and pouches. Normally, hundreds of drinks samples in plastic packaging are handed to runners at these events each year. The sachets, called Oohos and created in partnership with packaging development company Skipping Rocks Lab, can be eaten, composted or disposed of in normal household bins. Once discarded, they take around six weeks to decompose. Lucozade Ribena Suntory will use the trial to assess the feasibility of introducing the compostable sachets at other large-scale sporting events as it strives towards a 2025 target of making 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. (Edie)


UK government announces £56m investment in South Africa battery storage project

The UK government has announced more than £56m of investment in a pioneering World Bank-backed initiative to deploy battery storage technologies in support of South Africa’s renewable energy programme. The Prime Minister confirmed the UK’s contribution to the $500 million Clean Technology Fund, a joint World Bank and African Development Bank project that is working with the South African government to fast-track the rollout of energy storage technologies that promise to make it easier to integrate low cost wind and solar farms to local and national power grids. The move comes as the South African government this week confirmed it intends to shelve nuclear power expansion plans in favour of increased investment in renewables capacity. (BusinessGreen)


New soy financing initiative aims to beef up protection for Cerrado forests

Agri-business multinational Bunge, banking giant Santander Brasil, and environmental NGO The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have come together to launch a major new initiative designed to tackle deforestation related to soy production in Brazil’s Cerrado region. The organisations announced they have developed a “first-of-its-kind” financing mechanism for soy farmers in the region, which will provide them with access to loans that help them boost production without clearing additional land. Currently, the bulk of loans offered to soy farmers only extend to one year and simply cover the cost of that year’s crops. As such, farmers often lack the capital required to invest in more sustainable technologies and practices that can improve long term yields without necessitating deforestation or the clearance of native vegetation. The new mechanism will offer loans of up to 10 years, “recognising that investments in land acquisition and preparation have a long-term payback,” the group said. (BusinessGreen)


Climate Change 2018
New frontiers in innovation, finance and climate science
15-16 October | Chatham House, London

The 22nd annual Chatham House Climate Change conference will ask how new business models and technological frontiers can drive sustainability and decarbonization as well as provide practical solutions to mitigating and managing climate change. The event will also offer an early opportunity to discuss the implications of the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C with policymakers, climate scientists, NGOs, and business and political leaders.

See more and secure your place:

Image source: 2013 Manhattan College Cross Country Invitational by Steven Pisano on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.