Top Stories

August 31, 2018


Microsoft to require partners and suppliers to offer paid family leave

Microsoft will start requiring business partners and suppliers to offer paid family leave, the company said in a blog post published Thursday, expanding the scope of its support for new parents. The company’s US suppliers will be required to offer a minimum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave at up to $1,000 per week. There are a couple of caveats: the requirement applies only to suppliers with more than 50 employees and “covers supplier employees who perform substantial work for Microsoft” – though it’s unclear what constitutes “substantial.” “We have long recognized that the health, well-being and diversity of our employees helps Microsoft succeed,” Dev Stahlkopf, general counsel at Microsoft, said in the post. Microsoft said it will assist its partners in complying with the new policy and realises “that this may ultimately result in increased costs for Microsoft.” (CNBC)


Unilever partners with UK firm to bring pay-as-you-go solar energy to millions in Kenya

Unilever has joined forced with a UK provider of pay-as-you-go solar home systems to bring solar energy to millions of off-grid homes across Kenya. Under the agreement, UK-based Azuri Technologies‘ solar system will be rolled out through Unilever’s distribution network, which reaches 67,000 small traders across Kenya. The announcement was made during Prime Minister Theresa May’s state visit to Kenya this week. Azuri CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth was among the UK business leaders who accompanied May on her visit. The partnership between Azuri and Unilever aims to expand the reach of pay-as-you-go solar energy systems through Unilever’s Sunlight brand. Justin Apsey, managing director East Africa at Unilever, said the partnership will help “deliver life-changing solar technology to off-grid communities.” “Solar power is proven to support the local and wider economy and further supports Unilever’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he added. (BusinessGreen)


California moves towards 100% carbon-free electricity after landmark vote

California has given fossil fuel-derived energy a hefty shove towards obsolescence after legislators voted to require that 100% of the state’s electricity come from carbon-free sources. The bill, which will need to be approved by the state senate and Governor Jerry Brown, will require a complete shift to clean energy such as solar and wind by 2045. It would also demand that electric utilities source 60% of their power from renewable sources by 2030, up from the current target of 50%. Opponents warned that electricity prices would go up if the state relied too heavily upon intermittent solar and wind before energy storage improves. State senator Kevin de Leon, who authored the bill to go 100% renewable energy, called it a “victory for clean air. It’s a victory to tackle climate change and the devastation that it’s leaving in its wake.” (Guardian)


Provincial government in China wins lawsuit against chemical company over environmental damage

The Jiangsu provincial government has won a lawsuit against Anhui Haide Co. for dumping more than 100 metric tons of waste lye into water bodies in the province, a court announced on Monday. The province will be compensated almost 55 million yuan ($8 million). The lawsuit was the first in China to be filed by a provincial government against a company for environmental damage. The court said that Yang Feng, head of Haide’s sales and marketing, transferred about 102 tonnes of waste lye in May 2014 to people who were unqualified to dispose of hazardous waste. The court said that the dumping resulted in severe pollution and led to the suspension of drinking water supplies for many hours in urban areas of Jingjiang and Xinghua, as well as great losses to the fishing resources of the Yangtze and harm to the ecological functions of the river. (Business & Human Rights)

Corporate Reputation

Bank of America faces backlash after freezing accounts over citizenship questions

Bank of America is facing backlash over reports that the company has frozen customer accounts over questions about their citizenship status. A report published Thursday by the Miami Herald profiles numerous Bank of America customers who say they have been locked out of their accounts after failing to answer questions about their citizenship or provide documentation deemed acceptable. In one case, Saeed Moshfegh, an Iranian doctoral student at the University of Miami, said he was denied access to his account after his local Bank of America branch refused to accept documentation he offered to demonstrate his status as a student. The bank says it asks account holders about their country of citizenship in order to comply with country-specific sanctions and routinely conducts outreach to ensure information is up to date. (HuffingtonPost)


Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business West Summit

12-14 November | San Diego, USA

Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business West Summit will bring together 400+ CEOs and heads of business to share ideas on how to navigate the issues facing digital-first business. This will be a must-attend event for businesses tackling ethics and responsibility in a digitalised world.

ForgeRock, Barrick Gold, Cylance, DigiCert, Human API, Blitzmetrics are just a few of the companies sending C-Suite executives to help share ideas and shape the future of ethics in digital business.

Register here quoting CC200 to receive £200 off your ticket.

Image source: green power by Martin Abegglen on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.