Top Stories

October 22, 2020


Purdue Pharma to plead guilty in $8bn opioid settlement

US pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma has reached an $8.3bn settlement and agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve a probe of its role in fuelling America’s opioid crisis It will admit to enabling the supply of OxyContin painkillers “without legitimate medical purpose”. The deal with the US Department of Justice resolves some of the most serious claims against the firm but the firm still faces thousands of cases brought by states and families. The firm sought protection from the litigation by filing for bankruptcy in 2019. Those with other lawsuits say that the bankruptcy lets the company and its owners, the Sackler family, off too lightly for their roles creating a crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 Americans since 1999. (BBC) 


Global energy networks join forces to boost renewables rollout

Over 30 global electricity network operators have joined forces to “dramatically accelerate” the transition to low cost, reliable power systems characterised by high levels of renewables. The Global Power System Transformation Consortium (G-PST) comprises national electricity system operators, including the UK, Australia, California, Texas, Denmark, and 25 other states and nations spanning Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The overarching goal of the Consortium is to help cut global emissions of all pollutants from energy systems by 50% by 2030. The G-PST aims to foster collaboration between different national power network operators, enabling efficient integration of substantial clean energy investments into power systems, which are sporadically located across land and sea and require new grid management approaches. (Business Green) 

Technology & Innovation 

Electric cars ‘as cheap to manufacture’ as regular models by 2024

Electric cars will cost the same to make as conventional cars with internal combustion engines (ICE), by 2024, according to new research by investment bank UBS. The extra cost of manufacturing battery electric cars versus their fossil fuel equivalents will diminish to just $1,900 per car by 2022 and disappear completely by 2024. Reaching cost parity with the ICE is seen as a key milestone in the world’s transition away from burning fossil fuels. Carmakers have been reluctant to shift production away from ICE models towards electric cars because batteries currently account for between 25-40% of the cost of the entire vehicle. Carmakers that hang on to ICE sales risk being left behind by rivals such as Tesla and Volkswagen, which has committed to investing €33bn in selling electric cars. (The Guardian) 

Climate Change 

Dentsu International sets 2030 net-zero target

Media and digital marketing communications giant Dentsu International has announced a new 2030 net-zero target, underpinned by a science-based target to reduce absolute emissions by 46%. Its parent company, Dentsu Group, has already had its climate targets approved in line with the Paris Agreement’s “well-below” 2ºC trajectory. By 2030, the remaining 54% of Dentsu International’s emissions will be brought to net-zero using carbon credits through verified offsetting schemes and select projects to ensure that they have broader environmental and social benefits. Its emissions per-employee are now 43% lower than they were in 2015. For its clients and partners, Dentsu International has stated it will place importance on sustainable storytelling as well as supporting brands to set more ambitious targets. It has pledged to integrate sustainable behaviours into all design processes for all projects from 2021. (Edie)* 


Crackdown on UK gambling ads expected to ban use of celebrities

The use of celebrities, such as sports personalities and reality TV stars, in betting and gambling ads is expected to be banned in the UK under new rules designed to crack down on marketing targeting under-18s. The rules, proposed by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for setting the UK code for advertising, would result in recent gambling ads featuring personalities such as José Mourinho, Michael Owen and Harry Redknapp being banned. Under the current rules an advert is banned only if it likely to appeal more to an under-18 than to an adult. Under the new rules an ad will be banned if it appeals to children, regardless of how it may be viewed by adults. (The Guardian) 

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