Top Stories

October 09, 2020


JPMorgan pledges $30 billion over next 5 years to address racial wealth gap

Multinational investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co is committing $30 billion to address racial inequality over the next 5 years, marking one of the largest corporate pledges related to race since the death of George Floyd in May. The initiative seeks to provide $8 billion in new mortgages for Black and Latino borrowers, $14 billion in loans for affording housing projects, $2 billion in small business loans, and $2 billion in philanthropy. In comparison, Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc have made similar pledges totalling about $1 billion each. JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, earned $36.4 billion in profit last year. The bank has also committed to do more business with minority suppliers, improve the diversity of its workforce, and open 100 branches in low-income communities. (Reuters) 

Digital Ethics 

Climate denial ads on Facebook seen by millions, report finds

Adverts on the world’s most popular social network, Facebook, denying the climate crisis or the need for action were viewed by at least 8 million people in the US in the first half of 2020, according to findings by thinktank InfluenceMap. Some of the ads stated that climate change is a hoax and that fossil fuels are not an existential threat. The ads were paid for by conservative groups, whose sources of funding are opaque, and are highly targeted to men over the age of 55 in rural US states. Last month Facebook said it was “committed to tackling climate misinformation”, announcing a climate science information centre. Facebook uses factcheckers and bans false advertising but also says it “is not meant to interfere with individual expression, opinions and debate”. (Guardian) 


Asda launches ‘first of its kind’ flu vaccination service

UK supermarket Asda has launched a free drive-through flu vaccination service for eligible people at 13 UK stores. Anyone entitled to free jabs, such as the elderly, frontline healthcare staff, and pregnant women, can use the service. People regarded as non-vulnerable can also get vaccinations for £8, which Asda claims is the cheapest on the market. The drive-through vaccinations will be offered in Asda car parks and come after reports people are put off visiting GPs and pharmacies due to Covid-19 worries. The supermarket’s move comes amid news that flu vaccinations have been limited by pharmacists and health clinics due to high demand. However, NHS England says enough stocks are available. This year, up to 30 million people can be vaccinated in England, the government says. (BBC) 


Anheuser-Busch to trial low carbon aluminium beer cans

Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the world, is to launch a new range of low carbon beer cans made from aluminium produced in smelters powered by hydroelectricity. The company announced plans to produce one million sustainable cans of Michelob Ultra, through a new partnership with metals and mining giant Rio Tinto. The low carbon cans are a first for the canned beverage industry and have the potential to generate 30% less carbon emissions than traditional cans, according to Anheuser-Busch. Currently the majority of the world’s aluminium is made from coal-fired plants in China and there have been growing calls for policymakers to invest in low carbon aluminium technologies. Globally, aluminium smelting is estimated to be responsible for 1% of global emissions. (Business Green) 


97% of UK offshore marine parks subject to destructive fishing

Over 97% of British marine protected areas (MPAs), created to safeguard ocean habitats, are being dredged and bottom trawled, according to data from Global Fishing Watch by conservation NGO Oceana. Almost 25% of the UK’s territorial waters are covered by MPAs, set up to protect vital ecosystems and species, including harbour porpoises and dolphins, as part of the government’s “world leading” target to protect 30% of ocean biodiversity by 2030. However, bottom trawling and dredging, the most destructive type of fishing on sea-floor habitats, is happening in 71 out of 73 offshore MPAs around the UK. The findings follow reports by Greenpeace of an increasing number of foreign supertrawlers fishing in the same sites and accuse the government of misleading the public over “paper parks” that fail to protect Britain’s seas. (Guardian)