Top Stories

October 17, 2018


140 US companies band together to rally more people to the polls

Companies across the US have banded together to support the Time to Vote campaign, a nonpartisan effort led by CEOs aimed at increasing voter participation. The US has one of the lowest voter participation rates in the developed world, recently as low as 36 percent. A diverse coalition of roughly 140 companies across a variety of industries — including Levi Strauss & Co., Lyft, Patagonia, PayPal, Timberland, Walmart — are coming together, starting with the November elections, to increase voter turnout. “This campaign isn’t about any particular party or candidate or issue — it’s about encouraging more people to vote without having to make the hard choice between going to work and going to the polls,” said Levi Strauss & Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh. (Sustainable Brands)

Climate Change / Responsible Investment

FCA proposes climate risk reporting duty for asset managers

The UK’s financial services regulator is considering whether to require asset managers and other financial services firms to report publicly on how they manage climate risks. Noting the work done by the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the regulator said there was “an opportunity for us to build on the work of the TCFD to help organisations, including firms, manage the transition to a low-carbon economy and encourage the financial services industry to consider the impact of climate change”. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicated that, for an asset manager, the public reporting requirement could involve it preparing a report about how it managed the risk to long-term investments “such as pension assets” created by climate change. (IPE)

Supply Chain

UK supermarket warns fair pay for supply chain workers ‘could be the next plastics’

As more companies begin to emphasise the importance of human rights across global supply chains, the Co-op’s chief commercial officer Michael Fletcher has noted that supply chain worker treatment could have a “David Attenborough moment” and become the next big sustainability issue for consumers. Speaking at a conference hosted by Fairtrade in London last week, Fletcher argued that the traditional model of trade is no longer “working” for farmers in supply chains, highlighting the fact that the gap between the market price for coffee and what is considered a “fair price” currently stands at around 15 percent. Specifically, Fletcher predicted that the drive to change existing supply chain models to ensure that all workers receive a living wage is likely to be consumer-led, with manufacturers and then policymakers following suit. (Edie)

Climate Change

BT announces 2045 net zero emissions pledge

BT has set its sights on becoming a net zero carbon business by 2045, citing the increased need for rapid greenhouse gas emissions in the wake of last week’s clarion call from the world’s top climate change scientists. Announcing the new pledge to coincide with the launch of the UK government’s Green Great Britain Week, the UK telecoms giant said the new 2045 net zero goal would build on its existing Science-Based Target to reduce its 2016 emissions 87 percent by 2030. The company said it now plans to deepen its use of low emission vehicles across its fleet before moving towards fully electric vehicles in order to reach the net zero goal, while also improving the energy efficiency of its property portfolio and ratcheting up the decarbonisation of its core operations. (BusinessGreen)*

Corporate Reputation 

Audi fined £700 million over diesel emissions scandal 

Audi has been fined €800 million (£700 million) to settle an investigation by German prosecutors into breaches of diesel emissions rules. The premium car brand, owned by Volkswagen, said it “accepts the fine and … admits its responsibility”. In June, the company agreed a €1 billion settlement in Germany over the emissions scandal, which came to light in 2015. Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to putting defeat device software into 11 million cars to flatter emissions readings during engine tests so that the true output of nitrogen oxides was reduced. The company’s total costs in fines, buybacks and refits has now reached €27 billion. Audi’s fine of €800 million consists of €5 million for regulatory rule-breaking, with the rest being payment for the economic benefits resulting from the sale of cars with defeat devices. (BBC)

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Image source: Pilsen and Pollution by Señor Codo on FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.