Top Stories

September 19, 2018


McDonald’s workers across the U.S. stage #MeToo protests

In what organizers said was the first strike in more than 100 years to protest sexual harassment in the workplace, hundreds of McDonald’s employees in cities across the US rallied to demand that the largest fast food chain in the country do more to combat the problem. The protests, held on September 18th, were organized by Fight for $15, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. In May, with the group’s support, 10 McDonald’s employees filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that male supervisors had made unwelcome advances against them and had retaliated against those who complained. The goal of the protests was to pressure McDonald’s to institute stronger policies to protect workers from sexual harassment at its more than 14,000 stores in the United States. The demands included better training programs for all workers, a more effective way to report complaints and a committee dedicated to addressing sexual harassment issues. (NewYorkTimes)

Human Rights / Sustainable Agriculture

Syngenta accused of exporting pesticides linked to involuntary poisoning of cotton farmers

The NGO Public Eye has accused the Swiss chemical company Syngenta of exporting pesticides that it claims are linked to the involuntary poisoning of cotton farmers in India. The company has denied the allegations, saying there is no evidence to suggest its product is responsible. The report by Public Eye claims that up to 50 farmers may have been fatally poisoned between July and October 2017 potentially due to excess use of Syngenta’s Polo insecticide to control white flies in cotton. The pesticide contains the chemical diafenthiuron that is produced by the company in Switzerland. The insecticide was banned in the European Union in 2002, and subsequently in Switzerland in 2009. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) states that diafenthiuron is “toxic if inhaled” and can “cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure.” Syngenta India told Public Eye that Polo had been successfully used by farmers across the country for the last 14 years without any reported incidents of fatal casualties and said that “there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Syngenta’s product Polo, was at all responsible for the incidents that have occurred.” (Business & Human Rights; SWI)

Corporate Reputation

Danske Bank CEO quits in $234 billion money laundering scandal

 The chief executive of Danske Bank, Thomas Borgen, quit on 19th September, in a money laundering scandal which involved 200 billion euros ($234 billion) flowing through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, most of which was suspicious. Danske Bank’s report investigating the company’s Estonian branch found that Danske Bank failed to take proper action in 2007 when it was criticized by the Estonian regulator and received information from its Danish counterpart that pointed to “criminal activity in its pure form, including money laundering” estimated at “billions of roubles monthly.” In a statement which detailed failings in compliance, communication and controls, Borgen said “It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia. I deeply regret this.” (Reuters)


Ikea to use EVs for last-mile home deliveries in five cities by 2020

Ikea has pledged to only use electric vehicles (EVs) for all its last-mile home deliveries in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai by 2020, after announcing a 2025 target of using zero-emission vehicles to make all of its last-mile deliveries worldwide last year. Ikea estimates that the EV switch in the five cities will help it to electrify 25% of its last-mile deliveries within the next two years. The move from the world’s largest furniture retailer forms part of its membership to The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, which aims to spur the uptake of EVs among businesses globally.  As an EV100 member, the company has also committed to provide access to EV charging stations at Ikea locations in 30 markets by 2020, and to halve emissions from Ikea employee and customer travel by 2030. (Edie)


Shell announces near-zero methane emissions target for 2025

Oil and gas giant Shell has made a new commitment to reduce the methane emissions intensity of its operations to below 0.2% by 2025. At present, Shell estimates that the methane emissions intensity of its operations ranges from 0.01% at its most efficient oil and gas assets, to 0.8% at the least efficient facilities. The new target forms part of the company’s long-term goal of halving the carbon footprint of its energy products by 2050. The new goal makes Shell the third oil and gas company to have set near-zero methane emissions target in recent months, after BP and ExxonMobil unveiled new targets in April and May respectively. Shell said it will use infrared cameras to scan for methane emissions, deploy advanced technology to repair leaks and replace high-bleed pneumatically-operated controllers with low-emission alternatives as it strives to meet the new aim. (Edie; BusinessGreen)

External Event

The Good Capital Conference – Frontier Exchange

13th and 14th of November | London

The Good Capital Conference is dedicated to partnering Sustainable and Impact Enterprises with a wide range of sustainability stakeholders, including investor counterparts. In addition to the outstanding content on offer, attendees will benefit from a highly structured networking system, enabling meetings to be pre-booked in advance.

The conference will cover 12 themes in 2 days including: new business models for a sustainable world, measuring and quantifying ESG and impact, sustainable cities and communities, impact investment, and the circular economy.

See full details with your brochure here.

Please note you can benefit from a 10% saving if you reserve your ticket here and quote Corp20.


Image source: McDonald by Usodesita on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.