Top Stories

September 18, 2018


Oxfam claims pharmaceutical companies are avoiding significant tax liabilities

In its new report, Prescription for Poverty, Oxfam claims four pharmaceutical corporations are not paying an estimated $3.8 billion in tax per year across 16 countries. It says Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer are systematically shifting their profits to avoid paying higher tax in the countries where they operate. Oxfam said that this amounts to billions of dollars in tax across 16 countries – data reveals average pre-tax profit margins of six percent in countries with standard tax rates, compared to 31 percent in tax havens. “In no way is Oxfam saying that these companies have undertaken anything strictly illegal but what it does involve is a complex mechanism of setting up where their patents are based for their medicines,” Oxfam’s New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said. But John Nash from New Zealand’s Inland Revenue said the charity was using a methodology which completely misrepresented what was actually happening in New Zealand. “Oxfam have applied a global average profit margin, which attributes just far too much profit to New Zealand,” he said. (Oxfam; 1NewsNow)


IMF boss says it should be politically incorrect for firms not to have senior women

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has said it should be “politically incorrect” for companies not to have a woman in a senior position. Lagarde said even companies with “no moral compass” should recognise they can boost their profits through promoting women to senior and boardroom positions. In a speech in London, Lagarde said tackling gender inequality would boost economic growth in developing nations, as she urged businesses worldwide to appoint more women to senior posts. Lagarde said increasing the proportion of women in prominent business and finance industry jobs could raise economic dynamism and shift firms into thinking about the long-term future of the planet. Outlining the importance for developing nations, she said reducing gender inequality by 10 percentage points in sub-Saharan African countries could boost growth by two percentage points over five years. (Guardian)


US trumps Europe in a sustainability league table dominated by emerging markets

The results of the Schroders Global Investor Study (GIS), which measures attitudes among individual investors across 30 countries, have ranked the US as the only developed country to make the top 10 of the sustainable investment league table. Countries regarded to be emerging markets filled nine out of the top 10 places, with the US in fourth place. The study, which surveyed more than 22,000 investors across the globe, asked people about their understanding of what it means to invest sustainably, how they behaved sustainably in their everyday lives and how much they invested in sustainable products. Responses from Indonesians indicated they were most focused on sustainability while India was in second place and China in third. Thailand (5th), South Africa (6th), Brazil (7th), the UAE (8th), Chile (9th) and Taiwan (10th) made up the rest. European and developed Asian countries dominated the bottom half of the table. (Schroders)


Saudi Wealth Fund to invest $1 billion in Tesla’s rival Lucid

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund signed an agreement to invest more than $1 billion in aspiring electric-car maker Lucid Motors Inc., months after building a stake in Elon Musk-led Tesla Inc. In a move to diversify its economy after the collapse in crude prices, Saudi Arabia plans to turn its Public Investment Fund (PIF) into the world’s biggest sovereign fund, controlling more than $2 trillion by 2030, and to hedge against fluctuations in oil prices. “By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the PIF said in a statement. The PIF’s investment in Lucid adds to the uncertainty surrounding Tesla, after Musk announced in August 2018 that the Saudi wealth fund had expressed interest in helping take Tesla private. (Bloomberg)

Sustainable Development

The UPS Foundation pledges $1 Million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts

Transportation and logistics experts, UPS, has announced a more than $1 million commitment through The UPS Foundation in support of recovery efforts following the devastating flooding, infrastructure damage and utility outages caused by Hurricane Florence across the East Coast of the US. Through a combination of cash grants, in-kind transportation movements and technical expertise, the company and The UPS Foundation will provide both urgent relief, as well as support for long-term needs ranging from rebuilding to personal and financial recovery assistance. The UPS Foundation is working with humanitarian aid partners, such as the Salvation Army, to provide immediate support and assess longer-term needs, committing additional funding and in-kind assistance for recovery needs that will be specified during the post-crisis recovery phase. Additionally, the company has deployed skilled volunteers with humanitarian logistics expertise to the American Red Cross and FEMA, to help transportation of needed supplies and to coordinate support with multiple partner agencies providing relief. (CSRwire)


Business & Climate Summit: Managing Climate Related Risks & Capitalising on the opportunities

1st October| London

Given the rise of climate-related soft and hard law – the TCFD, EU NFD – the summit helps to understand their impacts on business and to develop an appropriate strategy, focusing on how to;

  • Map climate risk to identify high-risk areas and develop an appropriate action plan
  • Navigate the complexity of various climate-related disclosure standards
  • Move beyond reporting to tie climate in the strategy and commercial goals

See full details and download our brochure here.

Confirmed speakers include Heads and Directors of Standard Chartered Bank, BT, Skanska, Multiplex, Mott Macdonald, EBRD and more.

Please note you can benefit from a 10% saving if you reserve your ticket here and quote FG10.

Image source: Tesla Model S P100D by Jakob Härter on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.