Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Energy, Environment, Human Rights, Sustainable Investment

Top Stories

March 25, 2019

Corporate Reputation

Sackler Trust suspends new UK donations

The Sackler Trust has suspended new charitable donations in the UK amid claims the Sackler family fortune is linked to the opioid crisis in the US. The trust said it rejected the claims, but said the row had become a distraction for the groups it supports. Last week, the National Portrait Gallery become the first major art institution to give up a grant from the Sackler family. Other organisations have also shunned Sackler money, including the Tate. Since 2010 the Sackler Trust has committed £60 million to a range of causes. The Trust is one of many philanthropic organisations funded by the Sackler family. The negative publicity the family has received, due to its connections with the US company Purdue Pharma and its controversial opioid painkiller OxyContin, has led to mounting pressure on museums and galleries not to accept its money. (BBC)

Whistleblower accuses PwC of failings over private jet trip

A PwC whistleblower has accused the Big Four accounting firm of serious independence failings after it allowed its auditors to fly in a private jet owned by a major audit client, US-listed chipmaker Micron. Mauro Botta, a former PwC auditor who is suing the firm in the US for wrongful dismissal, alleged that a photo of the Micron audit team standing in front of the private jet was singled out for praise during a meeting in California in 2016. The incident is one of several alleged audit lapses involving a handful of PwC’s Silicon Valley clients that were highlighted in a document sent by Mr Botta to the US Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a whistleblowing complaint against his former employer in 2016. The document shines an intriguing light on cultural standards within PwC, and has raised further questions about whether large accounting firms are too close to the companies they audit at a time when the industry is under unprecedented scrutiny. (Financial Times)*

Sustainable Investment / Energy

Smart Carbon Portfolios capitalise on low-carbon transition, without sacrificing returns

‘Smart Carbon Portfolios’ enable investors to capitalise on a low-carbon transition, without sacrificing returns, according to new research from Imperial College Business School. The research developed an asset allocation model to capture the potential impact of carbon pricing on fossil fuel stocks and to create what they call Smart Carbon Portfolios. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has warned of the potential perils of ‘transition risk’ arising “through a sudden and disorderly adjustment to a low-carbon economy.” In response, financial researchers at Imperial are developing new tools that allow investors to hedge against escalating risks, while sacrificing virtually no ex-ante financial gains. The framework consists of a set of 15 parameters based on key dimensions identified by the Financial Stability Board’s Task-force for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). The framework also considers companies’ investments in new lines of business and tangible efforts to re-shape business models in response to declining demand in the power and transport sectors. (Investment Europe)


Companies to miss 2020 zero-deforestation deadline, report says

Major corporations that have committed to eradicating tropical deforestation from their operations by 2020 are not going to meet their self-imposed deadline, according to a report by Global Canopy. The “Forest 500” report assesses the 350 most influential companies in forest-risk commodity supply chains and the 150 financial institutions that support them, focusing on four commodities: cattle, palm oil, soy, and timber. Nearly half of the 500 assessed companies have made commitments to eliminate deforestation from agricultural supply chains by 2020 or earlier. As the deadline nears, none of the companies and financial institutions assessed in 2018 is on track to eliminate commodity-driven deforestation from their supply chains and portfolios by next year, the report says. “The planet, the climate and the companies themselves face significant risks to their business models if they continue to rely on commodities linked to deforestation in their supply chains. Companies need to recognize this and act with urgency,” says lead author of the report, Sarah Rogerson. (MongaBay)

Human Rights

UN Human Rights Council calls on businesses for better protection of environmental human rights defenders

The Human Rights Council has adopted a strong consensus resolution recognising the critical role of environmental human rights defenders in protecting vital ecosystems, addressing climate change, attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ensuring that no-one is left behind. Implementation of the resolution, which formally acknowledges the important role of environmental human rights defenders, requires action at the national level by all relevant stakeholders, including States, UN agencies, businesses and development finance institutions. The Human Rights Council is calling on businesses to carry out human rights due diligence and to hold meaningful and inclusive consultations with defenders, potentially affected groups and other relevant stakeholders. ‘We now look to States, business enterprises and development finance institutions to take rapid and decisive steps to address the global crisis facing environmental human rights defenders’, said Michael Ineichen, Programme Director at the International Service for Human Rights. (Business & Human Rights)

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External Event

Ethical Corporation: The 18th Responsible Business Summit Europe 2019

10—12th June | London, UK

On the 10th and 12th of June 2019, The Responsible Business Summit will be returning with its 18th Annual European Summit in London with the largest and most senior launch speaker line-up to date to lead businesses to clean and sustainable future.

With our planet facing near irreversible collapse coupled with increasing societal pressures, rapid innovations and changes in technology, businesses face challenging times ahead. These challenges, however, provide new opportunities to transform industries and societies. It’s time for business to embrace these opportunities and lead to a new clean and sustainable future. Find the brochure here and quote CC200 for a £200 saving.


Image Source: Day 34: Spilled Out by Ajay Suresh on FlickrCC BY 2.0.