Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Climate Change, Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Ethics, Health & Nutrition, Sustainable Fashion, Sustainable Investment

Top Stories

April 20, 2020

Health/Sustainable Investment

Coronavirus: Institutional investors tell Big Pharma to cooperate on coronavirus

Institutional investors in 15 major pharmaceutical companies have called on drugmakers to set aside rivalries and cooperate on finding solutions to the coronavirus. The investor group holds more than 1.9 trillion euros in assets and includes Nordea, Nomura, Boston Common Asset Management and Dutch pension fund PGGM. The group said it will send drugmakers including Roche, Johnson & Johnson and Gilead, a list of principles it wants them to abide by for the coming year. The list includes prioritising the development of tests, medicines and vaccines, working together on data-sharing, paying suppliers on time, understanding if customers have financial hardship and ensuring supply lines are working. The group said in a statement that it had “unfortunately… seen some examples of priority being given to short-term financial and competitive considerations”. While drugmakers have sprung into action to try and come up with vaccines to treat the coronavirus and test for the presence of COVID-19 and other measures, investors say they need to do more. (Reuters)

Sustainable Fashion/Corporate Reputation

Coronavirus: Primark commits to paying 370 million pounds of orders

Fast fashion retailer Primark has committed to pay suppliers for 370 million pounds of orders, though all its stores are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This follows news previously reported that Primark would create a fund to help pay the wages of garment workers affected by its decision to cancel tens of millions of pounds worth of clothing orders. All of Primark’s 376 stores in 12 countries have been closed since March 22, representing a loss of 650 million pounds of net sales per month. The new commitment brings Primark’s total stock both owned and committed to nearly 2 billion pounds while its stores remain closed. In contrast, other western clothing brands that had agreed not to cancel orders due to the coronavirus epidemic are now demanding price cuts of up to 50 percent from suppliers, Bangladeshi manufacturers have said. (Reuters, Thomas Reuters Foundation)

Climate Change/Sustainable Investment

Big investors warn companies against backtrack on climate change

Big investors have urged companies to maintain their focus on reducing carbon emissions, even as businesses grapple with the economic fallout of coronavirus. Eight investment groups, including BNP Paribas Asset Management, DWS and Comgest Asset Management, told the Financial Times that tackling global warming must continue to be a priority for public companies, despite unprecedented pressure on businesses. The investors said businesses would be given leeway when it came to climate change this year but warned against backtracking on targets to reduce carbon emissions. Michael Herskovich, head of corporate governance at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said the €440 billion fund house continued to discuss climate change with the businesses it invests in. Over the past couple of years, big investors have pushed companies to tackle their carbon emissions, teaming up together through initiatives such as Climate Action 100+, amid growing concerns of an economic fallout from global warming. (Financial Times)*

Employees/Business Ethics

EY ordered to pay whistleblower $11m in Dubai gold audit case

A former partner at the accounting firm EY has been awarded $10.8 million in damages after being forced out of his job when he exposed professional misconduct during an audit of a Dubai gold refiner. The high court in London ruled on Friday that EY had repeatedly breached the code of ethics for professional accountants in its dealings with one of its clients, Kaloti Jewellery International. The claim was brought by Amjad Rihan, who revealed that silver-coated gold had been shipped from Morocco to avoid export restrictions and precious metal obtained from other countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iran without due diligence. After telling EY about his concerns, Rihan was ordered back to Dubai but feared for his and his family’s safety. He resigned and subsequently made whistleblowing disclosures in 2014. Mr Justice Kerr found EY had breached its duty to Rihan through failing to perform the Kaloti audit in an ethical and professional manner. (The Guardian)

Climate Change

UK citizens’ assembly calls coronavirus a ‘test run’ for greener lifestyles

Measures to help stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Britain show how quickly the country could change its ways to address climate change, participants in the Climate Assembly UK, a nation-wide panel of UK citizens discussing climate change, have said. “With coronavirus, (the government) has had to act because they had no choice in the matter. With climate change, they need to act in the same way,” said Marc Robson, one of the 110 members of the citizens’ assembly. As with the response to the COVID-19 respiratory disease, “people will die if we don’t do it”, the Newcastle resident warned in a video interview. The assembly, chosen to reflect Britain’s diverse geographic and demographic makeup, as well as different viewpoints on climate change, has met once a month since January to hear from experts on climate science and policy. It is expected to submit over the summer its recommendations to the government on how Britain should meet a legally binding goal to cut its climate-heating emissions to net zero by 2050. (Reuters)


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Image Source: person holding white labeled bottle by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.