Top Stories

February 22, 2021


GSK sets goal to advance gender and ethnic diversity at senior levels

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has set targets to advance racial and ethnic diversity in the senior leadership teams of its two biggest employee populations in the US and UK. The company will aim to increase female representation at the vice president level and higher to at least 45% by 2025, up from a share of 37% of these roles currently held by women. It will also aim to have 30% ethnically diverse senior managers in the US by 2025 from the current level of 23%. For this target it will focus on increasing the percentage of Black and Hispanic or Latin American senior leaders. In the UK, GSK is targeting at least 18% ethnically diverse leaders by the end of 2025, from a current level of 11%. (Morningstar)


UK Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers not self-employed

Drivers on ride-hailing app Uber must be treated as workers rather than self-employed, the UK's Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling could mean thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay, and the app will potentially have to pay 20% VAT on fares. The court determined drivers had little to no control over ride fares, contract terms, requests for rides and potential termination of their services, and ruled drivers are in a position of subordination to Uber. The Court dismissed Uber's appeal that it was an intermediary party and stated that drivers should be considered to be working whenever logged in to the app. The Supreme Court's verdict has wider implications for other gig economy workers, including other private hire drivers, couriers and delivery drivers. (BBC News)


UK backs Taiwan offshore wind project with £200m of credit guarantees

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, is providing a £200 million buyer credit guarantee to help finance the 605MW Greater Changhua 1 offshore wind farm off Taiwan. The project aims to unlock the export potential of the UK’s offshore wind sector. UKEF has now provided £500 million of financing for three offshore wind projects in Taiwan since late 2019, creating trading opportunities for UK renewable energy companies and supporting green jobs. UK-based renewable technology companies Seajacks and Trelleborg’s applied technologies operation are working with power company Ørsted to develop the wind farm. The project aims to support the UK government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution to build back greener from the pandemic. (; UK Government)


H&M issues €500m bond tied meeting its CO2 and recycled garment goals

High street fashion retailer H&M has issued a €500 million sustainability-linked bond tied to the company achieving its 2025 sustainability targets to ramp up the use of recycled materials and drive down greenhouse gas emissions across its business and supply chain. The funds for H&M bonds are linked to the company increasing the share of recycled materials in garments to 30% by 2025, and reducing operation emissions by 20%, and Scope 3 emissions by 10% from a 2017 baseline. Scope 3 emissions cover those in H&M's value chain, such as emissions generated from fabric production, garment manufacturing, raw materials and upstream transport. Green bonds are increasingly being used by corporates to accelerate transition strategies, with Tesco recently becoming one of the first major UK firms to issue a sustainability-linked bond. (Business Green)


British Gas targets fully electric fleet by 2025

Energy provider British Gas is striving to electrify the entirety of its12,000-strong fleet along with its 1,500 company cars by 2025, 5 years ahead of its original schedule. The firm has placed what it claims is the largest order yet of electric vehicles (EV) by a UK business to date, concerning 2,000 pure electric Vivaro-e vans which will be integrated into its fleet by the start of next year. British Gas’s commitments mirror its changing business model. The company provides charger installation and utility tariffs linked to EV use to both business and domestic customers, and aims to recruit 1,000 engineering apprentices, largely within the EV workforce by 2022. (Edie)


2021 Actions for Business