Top Stories

August 25, 2020


Consumer goods giants accused of sourcing palm oil from ‘top deforester’

Consumer goods giants including PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle have been accused of indirectly sourcing palm oil from a mill supplied by a producer which destroyed almost 3,000 hectares of forest in Indonesia in the first half of 2020. In its latest analysis of palm-oil-driven deforestation, sustainability risk analysis organisation Chain Reaction Research (CRR) tracked the activity of key producers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea using satellite imagery. It found that just ten palm oil groups were behind more than half of the 19,894 hectares of nature destruction recorded in these regions in the first half of 2020. Indirect supply links were also found between FMCG majors with deforestation-free, peat-free and exploitation-free (NPDE) palm oil commitments and other palm oil producers implicated in forest loss and peatland destruction including Hershey’s, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Avon, Danone, Kellogg, L’Oreal, Mondelez, PepsiCo, Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser. Similar research has since been conducted by WWF and Rainforest Action Network. The conclusion was the same; that the FMCG sector is off track to meeting its deforestation commitments.(edie)


Jaguar Land Rover turns to recycled aluminium to cut manufacturing CO2

Jaguar Land Rover has developed an innovative process enabling it to recycle old aluminium cans, bottle tops, and end-of-life vehicles into brand new, premium cars, in a move it estimates could cut CO2 emissions from its manufacturing by more than a quarter. Co-funded by the government’s innovation agency Innovate UK, the process was developed in partnership with Brunel University as part of a £2 million project called ‘REALITY’. Recycled aluminium uses around 90 per cent less energy to produce compared to raw material production, according to the Aluminium Association. “As we move into an autonomous, connected and electrified future, with the potential of shared fleets being de-commissioned en masse, it could allow Jaguar Land Rover to engineer this closed loop recycling alloy into tight production schedules to further improve efficiency and environmental benefits.” said Gaëlle Guillaume, REALITY lead project manager. The REALITY project forms part of Jaguar Land Rover’s recently announced sustainability strategy Destination Zero, through which it is aiming to become a zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion company. (Business Green)

Diversity & Inclusion

Over 80% of White employees see themselves as allies at work, but Black women and Latinas disagree

A new study conducted by Lean In and SurveyMonkey finds that perceptions around allyship in the workplace differ among employees of different racial groups. The survey, which polled approximately 7,400 U.S. adults over the age of 18, found that more than 80 percent of White employees view themselves as allies to women of colour at work. Yet, just 45 percent of Black women and 55 percent of Latinas say they have strong allies in the workplace. With White employees, particularly White men, dominating leadership positions, Lean In CEO Rachel Thomas says this lack of allyship makes it difficult for Black women and Latinas to advance in their careers. In addition to colleagues speaking up and advocating for those with less privilege, Thomas says companies also need to step up and do a better job at ensuring the policies and data of their organization includes the experiences of women of color. (CNBC)

Corporate Governance

Facebook agrees to pay France €106m in back taxes

Facebook has agreed to pay the French government €106 million in back taxes to settle a dispute over revenues earned in the country, covering the last decade of its French operations from 2009. The social networking giant has also agreed to pay €8.46 million in taxes on revenues in France for 2020 – 50 percent more than in 2019. Other tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon have reached similar agreements with the French tax authorities. The BBC understands that Facebook paid a tax rate in France of 38 percent in 2019, which is above the statutory income tax rate of 33.3 percent. In February, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he recognised the public’s frustration over the amount of tax paid by tech giants. Moreover, in June, finance ministers in France, Italy and Spain signed a letter saying that tech giants, like Google, Amazon and Facebook, need “to pay their fair share of tax”.  (BBC)

Climate Change

Climate fund for poor nations vows to drive green Covid recovery

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has promised developing nations it will ramp up efforts to help them tackle climate challenges as they strive to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, approving $879 million in backing for 15 new projects around the world. At a four-day virtual board meeting ending late Friday, the fund added Afghanistan and Sudan to a list of more than 100 countries receiving a total of $6.2 billion to reduce planet-heating emissions and enhance climate resilience. The GCF was set up under UN climate talks in 2010 to help developing nations tackle global warming and started allocating money in 2015. Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said the fund had “a key role to play to maintain climate ambition in the era of Covid-19” and would aim to improve the speed and efficiency of its response to developing country needs. This comes as small island states criticised the pace and size of GCF assistance, saying they were struggling with the economic blow from the pandemic on top of climate change impacts such as rising seas and stronger storms. (Eco-Business)


Image Sourece: Aerial view of palm oil trees by Nazarizal Mohammad on Unsplash.