Top Stories

July 14, 2020

Corporate Reputation

Washington Redskins to drop controversial team name following review

The Washington Redskins American football team declared it will change its name under accusations of racism. Its major sponsors recently threatened to pull funding from the team unless it considered renaming itself. The Washington DC-based team has faced years of pressure over a name seen as offensive to Native Americans. Amid protests over police brutality and racism, major sponsors FedEx, Nike, Pepsi and Bank of America all called on Mr Snyder, the team owner, to consider changing the name. Last week, Amazon, Walmart and Target, Nike and other retail stores removed team merchandise from their websites. Entertainment & Sports Programming Network (ESPN) also said it would stop using the team logo, which depicts a Native American man. The announcement does not immediately change the name of the team, and a new one must be chosen before the 2020 season begins in September. The team’s official website maintains the current team name, as does the team’s official Twitter handle. (BBC)


Offshore wind energy investment quadruples despite Covid-19 slump

Global offshore wind investment more than quadrupled in the first half of the year even as the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented economic shock. A report has found that investors gave the greenlight to 28 new offshore windfarms worth a total of $35 billion (£28 billion) this year, four times more than in the first half of 2019 and well above the total for last year as a whole. The growth in offshore wind powered a 5% jump in total renewable energy investment to $132.4 billion despite a slump for onshore wind and solar power projects. Onshore wind investment for the first half of the year fell by a fifth to $37.5 billion, while solar investment slipped 12 per cent to $54.7 billion. China remained the world’s biggest market for renewable energy, with total investment of $41.6 billion in the first half of the year, up more than 40% from the same period last year thanks to its offshore wind boom. (The Guardian)

Waste/ Collaboration

Cross-sector action needed to improve flexible plastics recycling

WRAP, which leads the UK Plastics Pact, has warned that corporates may not be able to reach their packaging commitments unless a new collection and recycling system is developed for soft flexible plastics. UK Plastics Pact members account for around 85 per cent of all plastic packaging on UK supermarket shelves and are working towards making their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and increasing recycling rates to 70 per cent. Collaboration for strategies on how to deal with flexible packaging is needed, WRAP has warned. Flexible plastics account for a quarter of all UK consumer plastic packaging by weight, but just 4 per cent is recycled. Not many local authorities collect this type of plastic as it is difficult to recycle due to consisting of different plastics. The UK Plastics Pact commits, along with its 127+ members, to distribute one billion fewer pieces of “problematic” and unnecessary single-use plastic in 2020 than they did in 2018. Finally, one of the Pact’s core commitments for signatories is to eliminate “problematic” single-use plastic by 2025. (Edie)

Waste/ Environment

Diageo unveils ‘world’s first’ plastic-free, paper-based spirits bottle

Diageo, which makes renowned drinks such as Smirnoff and Guinness, has developed the world’s first-ever 100% plastic-free bottle through a paper-based variant. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced wood fibre and meets food-safe standards. According to Diageo, the packaging will be fully recyclable in standard collection and waste streams. Diageo’s chief sustainability officer Ewan Andrew said: “We’re proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking”. As part of the new bottle unveiling, Diageo has launched a new partnership with venture management firm Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex Limited, the company behind the sustainable packaging technology. Pulpex will produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that will be used across a new consortium of major companies, which includes PepsiCo and consumer goods company Unilever. The consortium partners will attempt to launch their own branded bottles using the Pulpex technology in 2021. (Edie)

Environment/ Water

Investors’ next high-yield bets should be on ocean sustainability, researchers say

New research from the World Resources Institute suggests that sustainable ocean-based investments will yield benefits at least five times greater than the costs. Over the next 30 years, investing $2 trillion to $3.7 trillion globally across several sustainable ocean-based policy interventions would generate a net benefit of $8.2 trillion to $22.8 trillion, according to the report commissioned by the High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, a project of 14 world leaders and the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy for the ocean. One solution researchers suggest is investing in ocean-based food production by improving fisheries and the production of ocean aquaculture. Every $1 invested in increasing production of sustainably sourced ocean-based protein is estimated to generate $10 in benefits, the report said. Another solution is investing in mangroves, which are swamp ecosystems typically located in the tropics that connect freshwater and oceanic ecosystems and protect people from sea level rise, hurricanes and flooding. Across all the investment areas, researchers estimated the value of benefits in terms of health and environment. (CNBC)

Image source: American football stadium photo by Anders Krogh Jorgensen on Unsplash