Top Stories

June 29, 2020

Corporate reputation/ Campaign

Coca-Cola suspends social media advertising despite Facebook changes

Beverage giant Coca-Cola will suspend advertising on social media globally for at least 30 days, as pressure builds on platforms to crack down on hate speech. It becomes one of the latest companies taking action against Facebook over harmful content. A total of 90 companies have now joined the #StopHateforProfit campaign, although Coca-Cola told CNBC its advertising suspension did not mean it was joining the campaign, despite being listed as a “participating business”. The drinks maker’s chairman and CEO James Quincey said the company would use the global “social media platform pause” and to “reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed”. “There is no place for racism in the world and there is no place for racism on social media,” Mr Quincey added. As a result of the boycott campaign, shares in Facebook fell 8.3% on Friday, eliminating $56bn (£45bn) from the company’s market value and. Clothes maker Levi Strauss & Co also said it would be pausing advertising on Facebook. Unlike Coca-Cola, it accused the social media firm of not going far enough. (BBC)


Business giants vow to build back better post-Covid-19

More than 200 business leaders will take part in a virtual meeting today (29 June), in which they will outline their plans to deliver a green coronavirus recovery. At least half of FTSE100 firms will be represented at the meeting, coordinated by the Council for Sustainable Business and the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra). Among them are customer goods giants Unilever, Sainsbury’s, water provider Severn Trent, international banking provider Standard Chartered and properties development company, Barratt Developments. By signing up to attend, businesses have committed themselves to working with the Government, other businesses and other key stakeholders to accelerate progress on issues like decarbonisation, resource efficiency, energy efficiency and nature restoration in the run-up to COP26. “As we bounce back and get the economy thriving again, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recover and grow in the right way – a cleaner and greener way. Every business in the UK has a role to play in delivering this”, Garfield, Severn Trent chief executive, said. (Edie)

Human Rights/ Corporate Reputation

World’s biggest renewables firms earn abysmal scores on human rights performance

Renewable energy companies are falling short on efforts to safeguard the rights of workers and communities in their operations and throughout mineral supply chains, placing the sector’s legitimacy and the global clean energy switch at risk, a new analysis released on Monday (29 June) has found. The report, by international non-governmental organisation Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, reveals that most clean energy firms analysed lack essential policies and practices to avert, identify and remedy human rights abuse. Eight of the sixteen corporates ranked in the new benchmark have allegations of abuse linked to their operations. Marti Flacks, deputy director at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, said corporates must clean up their act by carrying out human rights due diligence that responds to the risks their operations pose. This means they need to ensure they adopt and effectively implement human rights policies, engage with affected communities, uphold labour rights and monitor supply chains. (Eco-Business)


Coronavirus weakens defences against Indonesian forest fires as severe haze risk deemed ‘moderate’

Efforts to fight coronavirus could threaten Indonesian forests at risk of fires, according to experts. The risk of severe forest fires in Indonesia that choke much of Southeast Asia annually with toxic “haze” smoke is believed to be moderate this year, with wetter weather reducing the threat of one of the region’s biggest sources of air pollution and carbon emissions. Weather conditions usually have the biggest influence over the severity of haze outbreak. This year, though, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit Indonesia as hard as anywhere in Asia, presents an additional fire threat. Measures to defend against the virus are making land-use monitoring and the enforcement of laws that prohibit starting fires difficult. Despite depressed prices of commodities such as oil palm, paper and rubber, the economic pressure on growers to open up more land for development could increase the chances of haze, report said. Assigning responsibility for the fires is a contentious issue that coronavirus measures will make even trickier, as on-the-ground verification efforts will be much reduced. (Eco-Business)

Environment/ Collaboration

Green Investment Group and Enso Energy team up on 1GW solar-plus-storage pipeline

Green Investment Group (GIG) and Enso Energy have formed a joint venture to build a 1GW pipeline of battery-backed solar projects across the UK. The sustainable investment company revealed it is working with the British renewables developer on an extensive pipeline of subsidy-free solar projects, all of which would be backed by power purchase agreements (PPAs) with UK businesses. Projects across England and Wales are currently being submitted for planning approval, it said, while virtual community consultations are taking place to gauge local views on the proposed projects. Edward Northam, head of Green Investment Group Europe, toasted the partnership, which he said would help the UK meet its 2050 net zero emissions ambition. The GIG was created by the UK government in 2012 to support green infrastructure projects that would struggle to find support through commercial markets. The partners expect to start their first joint projects within a year. (Business Green)

Image source: Coca Cola glass bottle bt Jonathan Borba on Unsplash