Top Stories

March 09, 2020

Corporate reputation/Digital Ethics

Facebook sued by Australian information watchdog over Cambridge Analytica-linked data breach

Australia’s information commissioner is suing tech giant Facebook over allegedly breaching the privacy of over 300,000 Australians caught up in the previous British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica scandal. In a case lodged in the federal court on Monday, the Australian information commissioner, Angelene Falk, has alleged Facebook committed serious and repeated interferences with privacy in contravention of Australian privacy law. This follows on from the much-publicised scandal in which data collected by Facebook was passed onto an app by Cambridge Analytica for political profiling, which was not what it was collected for. Data included people’s names, dates of birth, email addresses, city location, friends list, page likes and Facebook messages for those who had granted the app access to the messages. According to the court documents, Cambridge Analytica provided written confirmation in January 2016 that all users’ personal information obtained through the app had been deleted, but the company did not take any independent steps to ensure the data had been deleted or destroyed. (The Guardian)

Diversity/ Campaigns

International Women’s Day risks becoming ‘corporate Mother’s Day’, feminists say

Campaigners have called on companies to do more than use the International Women’s Day as a promotional opportunity. Leading feminists such as Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre, have said that International Women’s Day is in danger of having companies jump on the bandwagon to whitewash their brands rather than promote women’s equality. With International Women’s Day products on offer from red roses to T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Woman Up”, equal rights campaigners have called on companies to take action and donate to grassroots causes on International Women’s Day. In recent years McDonald’s was accused of “McFeminism”, when it turned the company’s golden arches upside down to form the letter W. There is a way for brands and companies to get involved in International Women’s Day, according to Liv Little, founder of gal-dem, a magazine created by women of colour. But they must show long-term, genuine commitment to be part of positive change. Feminism is for life, not just for International Women’s Day, she said. (The Guardian)

Sustainable Investment

Cadent Gas launches UK’s first ‘transition bond’ to spur decarbonisation

The UK’s largest gas distribution network, Cadent, has agreed to the UK’s first ‘transition bond’ which has been issued to enable heavy-carbon emitters to access funds to decarbonise. The £435 million 12-year bond will enable Cadent to retrofit its gas distribution network by focusing on and trialling hydrogen and low-carbon gases alongside fixing methane leakages. International banking group BNP Paribas acted as Sole Transition Framework Structuring Advisor, as well as joint bookrunner for the UK’s first transition bond. The transition bond differs from green bonds – which focus on the sustainable allocation of capital – in the sense that it focuses on high-carbon businesses to enable them to shift to greener practices. The bonds focus on enabling “brown” high-carbon industries, such as utilities and transport, to transition. These industries are carbon intensive but have a key societal role to play regarding economic growth. BNP Paribas anticipates that companies will use science-based targets to build investor confidence and trust. (Edie)


Seven out of 10 global health leaders are men – and change is half a century away

The Global Health 50/50 report, published on Monday by University College London’s Institute of Global Health, warns it could take 54 years until the world’s major health organisations have equality in their leadership. Although women make up 70 percent of workers in the global health sector, only 5 percent of leadership positions are occupied by women from low- and middle-income countries, said researchers. Power is concentrated in rich countries, where 85 percent of global health organisations have their headquarters, according to the report. Most of the leaders were nationals of these countries or had studied in their universities. The report said the current global health system has its roots in colonial-era structures that were often focused on specific diseases and preventing their spread to Europe. Professor Sarah Hawkes, co-founder of the initiative reviewed the performance of 200 organisations working in health. She said programmes failed to take account of some health issues women faced, especially as more women worldwide moved into urban environments and workplaces. (The Guardian)

Environment/ Corporate Reputation

Nestlé signs up to European Plastics Pact to push for 100% recyclable or reusable packaging

Food and beverage giant Nestlé has announced that its European business is working towards ensuring packaging is 100 percent reusable or recyclable by 2025. Nestlé UK and Ireland was a founding member of the world’s first plastic pact, launched in the UK by the resources and waste charity WRAP in 2018. The company has now committed to a European version of the pact, convened by France and the Netherlands, to promote the circular economy across its European markets. The European Plastics Pact commits signatories to reducing virgin plastic products and packaging by at least 20 percent, raising the collection and recycling capacity of plastics in Europe by at least 25 percent and boosting the use of recycled content in plastic packaging to an average of 30 percent. Earlier this year, Nestlé committed £1.59 billion to source food-grade recycled plastics to be used in its packaging, alongside a pledge to cut the amount of virgin plastics it sources by a third. The company’s 2025 targets align with the UK Plastics Pact. (Edie)

Image source: Black Samsung Note  by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash