Top Stories

December 02, 2020


Nasdaq wants companies to have more diverse boards — or get kicked out.

Nasdaq has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to adopt a new requirement for the companies listed on its main U.S. stock exchange to have at least one woman and one “diverse” director, and to report data on boardroom diversity. If companies do not comply, they would face potential delisting. To give Nasdaq-listed companies time to comply, they will need to publicly disclose their diversity data within a year of S.E.C. approval and have at least one woman or diverse director within two years. It would be the first time a major stock exchange demanded more disclosure than the law requires. It raises questions about whether exchanges could use their listing rules to force action on other hot-button issues, like climate change. (NY Times)


Shell faces Dutch court as climate change activists demand end to emissions

Environmental activists have taken Royal Dutch Shell to court, demanding the energy firm drastically reduce the production of oil and gas to limit its effects on climate change. Seven activist groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands in April last year on behalf of more than 17,000 Dutch citizens who say the oil major is threatening human rights as it continues to invest billions in the production of fossil fuels. They are demanding that Shell cuts its greenhouse gas emissions almost in half by 2030 and to zero by 2050 – which would effectively force the Anglo-Dutch firm to quickly move away from oil and gas and direct its investment to sustainable sources of energy. (Reuters)


Humans waging ‘suicidal war’ on nature according to UN chief Antonio Guterres

Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, warns that “our planet is broken” and that humanity is waging what he will describe as a “suicidal” war on the natural world. Guterres wants to put tackling climate change at the heart of the UN’s global mission and that its “central objective” next year will be to build a global coalition around the need to reduce emissions to net zero. The objective will be to cut global emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels. Climate policies have yet to rise to the challenge, Guterres notes that “without concerted action, we may be headed for a catastrophic three to five-degree temperature rise this century”. (BBC)


Nike’s diversity advert causing a backlash in Japan

Nike is facing a backlash in Japan over an advert which highlights racial discrimination in the country. The video shows the “real life experience” of three young soccer players from mixed heritage. But it has sparked fierce debate as Japan is unaccustomed to openly discussing sensitive issues such as race, with some questioning whether a foreign brand should have waded in. Some on social media also said Nike was exaggerating the scale of discrimination, arguing that it was unfair to single out Japan. Other users threatened to boycott Nike products. Nike Japan said the ad highlights how people “overcome their daily struggles and conflicts to move their future through sports”.  (BBC)

Sustainable Development

Global sustainable fishing initiative agreed by 14 countries

Governments responsible for 40 percent of the world’s coastlines have pledged to end overfishing, restore dwindling fish populations and stop the flow of plastic pollution into the seas in the next 10 years. The leaders of 14 countries set out a series of commitments that mark the world’s biggest ocean sustainability initiative, in the absence of a fully-fledged UN treaty on marine life. The countries including Australia, Indonesia, Kenya, and Norway will end harmful subsidies that contribute to overfishing, a key demand of campaigners. They will also aim to eliminate illegal fishing through better enforcement and management, and to minimise bycatch and discards, as well as implementing national fisheries plans based on scientific advice. (The Guardian)