Top Stories

November 25, 2020


Purdue Pharma pleads guilty to federal criminal charges related to nation’s opioid crisis

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin pain relief medication, has pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges related to the company’s role in creating the nation’s opioid crisis. The plea deal announced in October includes the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, according to a Department of Justice. The company, which declared bankruptcy last year, will be dissolved as a part of the plea agreement, and its assets will be used to create a new “public benefit company” controlled by a trust or similar entity. Its future earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to combat the opioid crisis. (CNN)


US and China stay atop EY’s renewables market attractiveness ranking

The US and China headed EY’s rankings for the most attractive markets for green energy, while Australia for the first time entered the top three propelled by its vast solar and hydrogen export ambitions. EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) ranks countries based on the performance of renewables markets in relation to investment opportunities. The UK has climbed to fifth in these rankings followed from commitments to large-scale offshore wind, which has seen the UK Government commit to having 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. The RECAI notes that lockdown measures implemented for large parts of 2020 helped increase the share of renewables used across the globe, due to low electricity demand and operating costs. (Renewables Now; edie)

Sustainable Investment

MAS launches world’s first grant scheme for green and sustainability-linked loans

Companies of all sizes in Singapore will get more support in securing green and sustainability-linked loans, with a new grant scheme launched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The initiative will encourage banks to develop frameworks so small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can access such financing more easily. Green loans are those that help finance new or existing green projects, while sustainability-linked loans provide price incentives for borrowers to achieve sustainability performance targets. To this end, the new grant scheme will cover up to $100,000 of a borrower’s expenses in validating the green and sustainability credentials of a loan over a three-year period. (The Straits Times)


G20 urges preparedness to tackle climate crisis in light of the pandemic

World leaders met virtually this week at the 15th G20 Leaders’ summit, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia. The G20 meeting focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the optimism of the emerging vaccine options. Both the EU and UN called on the group to cover a £4.5 billion funding gap for Covid-19 counter programmes. Discussions focused on collaborative efforts to improve health access and trade, notably thought the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EU called on nations to learn lessons from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic by improving preparedness and resilience when tackling the climate crisis. (edie)


Mayors vow all-out drive against gender inequality in pandemic

Cities must move to the frontline of efforts to fight gender inequality that has grown worse in the coronavirus pandemic, six mayors from three continents have said as they joined forces in a new network to advance women’s rights. The City Hub and Network for Gender Equity (CHANGE) network aims to promote and share innovative projects focused on combating gender inequality among city mayors around the world. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the network’s first chair, was joined by the mayors of Barcelona, Freetown, Mexico City, London and Tokyo. Garcetti noted that “we must act with urgency” and not allow the “pandemic to set us back further”. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)