Top Stories

February 20, 2019

Corporate Governance

Nissan panel to recommend outside director to chair board

A Nissan Motor governance panel will recommend the appointment of an independent director, a role distinct from company chairman, in a move to decentralize power at the top level. The panel will call for an amendment to Nissan’s corporate charter, which automatically appoints the company chairman or co-chairman to helm the board of directors. Former Chairman Carlos Ghosn had filled both roles prior to his arrest in November for under-reporting his salary for eight years. The panel is scheduled to make recommendations to Nissan’s board in March on how to tighten lax governance and approval processes. (Nikkei; Reuters)

Supply Chain

Honda says up to 7,000 jobs at risk from closure of UK plant

Honda said up to 7,000 jobs were at risk from its decision to close its plant in Swindon as it confirmed the biggest blow to the British car industry for a generation. Ian Howells, Honda’s top UK executive, said that in addition to the 3,500 direct jobs affected at the company’s Swindon plant, a further 3,500 people “working in affiliates primarily supplying Honda” in the UK could be at risk. The closure of Honda’s sole car manufacturing site in the EU came as other Japanese businesses, particularly in the automotive and financial services sectors, voice concerns over a hard Brexit or no-deal scenario. It comes just two weeks after Honda’s Japanese rival Nissan announced it would no longer build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle at its plant in Sunderland, the biggest manufacturing facility in the UK. But Honda insisted the decision to close its flagship British plant was because of other factors such as the rise of electric cars and the small size of the market in Europe for its UK retreat. (Financial Times)*

Technology & Innovation

Centrica steps up investment in ‘intelligent home’ vision

Energy giant Centrica’s venture arm, Centrica Innovations, has announced two new investments in support of its plans to expand into the fledgling ‘smart home’ market, as it seeks to integrate solar, battery, heat pump, and energy management technologies capable of providing flexible power capacity to the grid. The announcement confirmed that it has invested in Germany-based home energy management specialist GreenCom Networks and Oxford University spin-out Mixergy. The company estimates that co-location of domestic battery storage and smart energy management systems alongside today’s solar installations alone could enable over 4.5GW of flexible power capacity, one and a half times more than a new nuclear plant. The energy giant is one of a host of companies racing to develop and deploy a range of integrated ‘smart home’ technologies capable of boosting renewables generation and reducing pressure on the grid at peak times, slashing carbon emissions and energy bills in the process. (Business Green)*

Climate Change

Majority of European firms have no CO2 reduction targets

Most European companies have no target for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions even though 80% see climate change as a business risk, a survey has found. Among those that have set climate goals, only one in three stretch beyond 2025, according to the annual Carbon Disclosure Project report. Instead, corporate action has focused in the boardroom, with a reported 47 percent of firms rewarding their CEOs for climate performance, and a quarter tying incentives to environmental goals. Managing director for CDP Europe, Steven Tebbe, praised climate disclosure’s entry into the financial mainstream. “The next decade is vital if our shift to a sustainable economy is to be successful, and companies lie at the heart of this transition,” he said. Although 53 percent of companies surveyed did not yet have climate goals, 58 percent reported carbon cuts in 2018, amounting to a total reduction of CO2 equivalent to Austria’s annual emissions. (Guardian)


UK plans to make plastic packaging producers pay for waste disposal

Britain is to set out plans to overhaul its recycling system, including making plastic packaging producers pay the full cost of dealing with their waste and introducing a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles. The plans, which also aim to make household rubbish collections more consistent around the country, will be introduced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove and go out for consultation for three months. The tax will be payable by producers who fail to use enough recycled material. At present, producers pay only around 10 percent of the cost of dealing with plastic packaging waste, the environment ministry said. Under an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system, the industry will pay higher fees if its packaging is harder to reuse or recycle. EPR for packaging will raise between 800 million and one billion pounds a year for recycling and disposal, the ministry said. (Reuters)

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External Event

Ethical Corporation: The Responsible Business Summit New York 
18-19 March 2019, New York

The 7th Responsible Business Summit New York returns gathering global businesses to create partnerships, share practical insights and shape the future sustainability agenda. This year 500+ CEOs, business leaders, Investors, Government representatives and NGOs will discuss how to lead a sustainable future for all.

We’re pleased to announce that Corporate Citizenship’s Regional Director for North America, Abby Davidson, will be facilitating the closing keynote on ‘Moving from risk to opportunity’ with panelists from Cummins, Shift and TerraCycle.

Find the brochure here and quote CC200 for a £200 saving.

Image source: Solo Logo by JD Hancock on FlickrCC BY 2.0.