Top Stories

September 10, 2020


Ex-VW CEO to face diesel fraud trial, court says

Former Volkswagen AG head Martin Winterkorn and four others must stand trial over serious fraud charges in Germany for their role in the diesel-rigging scandal that cost the carmaker more than 30 billion euros ($35 billion). The former chief executive officer and other managers were charged last year with equipping vehicles sold to customers with a so-called defeat device. The company two years ago found a way out of the probe, paying 1 billion euros to settle with prosecutors. Alongside the fraud charges, the accused will be tried on tax-evasion allegations. Since the cars received tax breaks for their supposed reduced emissions, the government lost out on 820,000 euros, according to the statement. Volkswagen said it is cooperating with the authorities and that the ruling is another step toward coming to terms with the scandal. (Bloomberg)


L’Oréal launches make-up recycling across UK shops

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal is introducing make-up recycling bins across 1,000 UK stores in an environmental push. Its Maybelline brand and recycling firm TerraCycle will install the recycling points in branches of Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug. L’Oreal’s UK boss said the firm wants to “lead the way” in creating beauty recycling habits. But Greenpeace said without reducing single-use plastic production, firms “cannot claim they are doing enough”. Chains such as The Body Shop and skincare specialist Kiehl’s – also owned by L’Oréal – already offer customers rewards for returning empty products to stores to be recycled. Nearly half of make-up wearers did not know that recycling beauty products was possible, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers by Maybelline. The cosmetics firm has pledged that 100% of its plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. (BBC)


Australian business leaders respond to corporate scandals, #MeToo movement

A group of mostly male executives from Australia’s top companies said in a report on Thursday that boards should be tougher in tackling sexual harassment at a time when the country is facing a number of corporate scandals. The group, which also has some female executives as members, also recommended that companies stop using non-disclosure agreements to prevent people from speaking out. The proposals come as Australia is being shaken by corporate scandals, which have prompted companies to review their codes of conduct and propelled the issue to the top of their agenda. The scandals have involved large companies such as wealth manager AMP Ltd and QBE Insurance Group Ltd. Australia lags behind international standards in preventing and responding to cases of sexual harassment, according to a recent inquiry into Australian workplaces.  (Reuters)

Policy & Research

Tax frequent flyers, ban new gas boilers and demand carbon labelling, UK Climate Assembly tells politicians

Politicians have the backing of the British public to tax frequent flyers, ban new gas boilers, and demand carbon labelling on food and drink products, according to the results of the UK’s first-ever citizen’s assembly on climate change. Last year, 108 members of the public were tasked by Parliament with drawing up a road map for getting the UK to net zero emissions by 2050. Assembly Members were selected at random to represent the UK’s population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, where in the UK they live and level of concern about climate change. After more than 6,000 hours of expert advice and deliberation the group have urged the Government to take radical steps to speed emissions cuts across the economy. Assembly members said watching the Government’s response to the pandemic had convinced them radical change was possible, so long as the government was committed to it. (I News)

Climate Change

Covid-19 will weaken energy demand for decades—but world still losing climate fight, warns report

While coronavirus may dampen energy demand for decades, the world is still on track to heat up by 2.3 degrees Celsius by 2100, a new report from DNV GL predicts. Covid-19 has led to an 8 per cent drop in energy demand this year and, with economic growth delayed and remote working and reduced travel here to stay, consumption levels are expected to remain at least 6 per cent below levels forecast prior to the outbreak through to 2050. However, the report states that the world is still not on track to win the battle against global warming. Over the next 30 years, absolute carbon dioxide emissions are expected to rise steadily in the Indian Subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa, with Greater China—currently the largest emitter by far—expected to reach peak emissions before 2030. A recent United Nations report has detailed that the build-up of climate-warming carbon dioxide, is now at its highest level in 3 million years. (Eco-Business)