- New executive pay transparency measures come into force in UK
- Petition against French climate inaction gathers two million votes
- Australia’s Suncorp inundated with claims after Sydney hailstorm
- Norway’s electric cars zip to new record of almost a third of all sales
- Melbourne toxic chemical waste sites under security as cleanup begins
New regulations mean that, for the first time, the UK’s biggest companies will have to disclose and explain their top bosses’ pay and the gap between that and the pay of an average worker every year. The pay ratio regulations will make it a statutory requirement for UK listed companies with more than 250 employees to annually disclose the ratio of their CEO’s pay to the median, lower quartile and upper quartile pay of their UK employees. Companies will start reporting this in 2020 (covering CEO and employee pay awarded in 2019). In addition, the new laws also require all large companies to report on how their directors take employee and other stakeholder interests into account and require large private companies to report on their corporate governance arrangements. The reforms are part of the government’s action to ensure the UK remains a world leading place to work, invest and grow a business. (GOV.UK)
A petition launched by four French NGOs to protest France’s failure to take measures to curb global warming has collected nearly two million signatures. Unsatisfied with the French government’s response, climate crusaders launched a massive protest on 8th December, followed by a petition on 18th December. The petition was launched by four French NGOs: Notre affaire à tous, le Fondation pour la nature et l’homme, Greenpeace France and Oxfam France. In December 2015, France hosted the COP 21 climate conference, where it promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. But the country is nowhere near fulfilling this pledge. Campaigners say the next step is taking the French government to court: “If in two month we don’t have an answer from the French government, or if we are not satisfied by the answer, then we can go to the administrative court to ask judges to order it to do more to tackle climate change,” Jean-François Julliard, executive director of Greenpeace France, told RFI. (RFI)
Australian insurer Suncorp Group said that it has received about 24,800 claims following a Sydney hailstorm last month, with the figures likely to rise over the coming weeks as customers return from holiday. The insurer expects total natural hazard costs across Australia and New Zealand of between A$600 million ($416.16 million) and A$610 million for the half-year ended December 31, 2018, it said in a statement. This leaves Suncorp with natural hazard costs of about A$240 million above its half-year allowance of A$360 million. Extensive hail and water damage across Sydney and the Central Coast in December had prompted the Insurance Council of Australia to declare a catastrophe. The council said majority of the claims received by insurers were for damage to cars and other vehicles, such as smashed windscreens and dented panels as they suffered the onslaught of “tennis ball” sized hailstones. (Reuters)
Almost a third of new cars sold in Norway last year were pure electric, a new world record as the country strives to end sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles by 2025. In a bid to cut carbon emissions and air pollution, Norway exempts battery-driven cars from most taxes and offers benefits such as free parking and charging points to hasten a shift away from diesel and petrol engines. The independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) said on Wednesday that electric cars rose to 31.2 percent of all sales last year, from 20.8 percent in 2017 and just 5.5 percent in 2013, while sales of petrol and diesel cars plunged. “It was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” by which time Norway’s parliament wants all new cars to be emissions-free, Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a conference. (Thomas Reuters Foundation)
Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is endeavouring to remove more than a million litres of toxic chemical waste from illegal storage sites in Victoria that were discovered on 28th December. The sites are under 24-hour guard while clean-up efforts are underway, according to 9 News. Seven sites have so far been identified as illegally storing 1.2 million litres of chemical waste. The illegal storage areas were discovered during inspections of industrial sites by the EPA and other agencies resulting from investigative work that followed August’s West Footscray industrial fire. EPA is withholding the addresses of the sites for legal and security reasons but will ensure direct contact with local stakeholders, the organisation says. According to a statement from the EPA: “The EPA has deployed mobile air quality monitoring as a precautionary measure to assure the protection of local communities.” (Environmental Leader)
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5-6 February 2019, Business Design Centre, London
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