Top Stories

February 18, 2021


Big businesses failing to protect human rights amid Covid-19

Large businesses are failing to safeguard human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic, argues a study by the World Benchmarking Alliance. The study, which analysed 229 companies spanning the global agriculture, apparel, extractives, ICT and automotive sectors, reveals only 25% of companies proved they were helping suppliers mitigate the financial and social impacts of changing demand during 2020. Many fashion brands are  of refusing to pay in full for orders. Marks & Spencer is recognised as one of the few brands paying for all shipped products and products that could not be shipped. Only 17% of businesses surveyed proved they safeguarded pay and ensured sick leave across the supply chain and with business partners. Performance was poor across all sectors, with the highest scores in agriculture and lowest in automotive. (Edie)


BP and Chevron back geothermal pioneer Eavor Technologies 

Geothermal pioneer Eavor Technologies has completed a $40 million funding round, raising hopes that next generation geothermal energy technologies could unlock reliable clean power at large scale and low cost. The company secured backing from oil giants BP and Chevron through their venture arms, alongside investments from TemasekBDC CapitalEversource, and Vickers Venture PartnersThe Eavor-Loop technology aims to use the natural heat of the earth to generate dispatchable power with zero emissions, enabling it to potentially replace established forms of baseload power like coal and nuclear. The technology will also enable a form of energy storage and could be complimentary to intermittent power sources like wind and solarEavor looks to commercialise its technology and to provide power for the equivalent of 10 million homes by 2030(Business Green) 


Maersk aims for first carbon-neutral container ship by 2023

AP Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, will have the first carbon-neutral container vessel on the water by 2023, seven years ahead of schedule. The medium-sized “feeder” vessel would be capable of carrying 2,000 20-foot containers and would be powered by carbon-neutral methanol. Maersk will also ensure that all new vessels ordered from now will be able to run on carbon-neutral fuels. At the moment, the majority of container ships are powered by bunker fuel, a thick, polluting product left at the end of the oil refining process. The feat is a step towards the company’s target to become carbon neutral by 2050, and comes as the business faces growing pressure to decarbonise. (Financial Times*)


Facebook will debunk myths about climate change

Social media giant Facebook has announced it will now debunk common myths about climate change, further leaning into the arbiter of truth role that the company once renounced. It is adding a section to its ‘climate change information hub’ that will feature accurate information about climate change misconceptions. The platform will rely on experts from George Mason University, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the University of Cambridge to identify and debunk climate change myths. The feature has been made available in the US, UK, France and Germany, with the expectation that it will soon be expanded to other countries around the world. Users in other countries will be directed by Facebook to the UN Environment Programmewhen they search for climate related terms on the service. (CNBC)


Asda and Aldi expand plastic-free packaging efforts

German retailer Aldi is striving to halve the amount of plastic it uses annually in the UK by 2025.  The retailer has finalised new packaging for its Easter range, which will mitigate the use of 2 million pieces of plastic, and has also confirmed plans for replacing plastics in chocolate boxes with a bio-based alternative made with recycled potato skins. The changes are forecasted to mitigate the use of 2 million individual plastic components. In related news, supermarket chain Asda has signed an agreement with packaging and materials giant DS Smith to replace one million pieces of hard-to-recycle plastic in point-of-sale displays this year. Once the rollout is complete, just 5% of Asda’s SEL holders will contain plastic. (Edie)

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2021 Actions for Business