Top Stories

February 26, 2021


UK companies pressed to appoint more women executives

UK ministers have urged companies to appoint more women to senior executive positions following the end of the Hampton-Alexander review into boardroom gender diversity. The review was launched in 2016 to encourage UK-listed companies to appoint more women into senior leadership. The number of women on FTSE boards has risen by 50% since 2015, and as of last January all FTSE350 boards have at least one woman. However, more than 100 FTSE350 companies are not meeting the target of having at least a third women holding board positions, and 16 companies only have one woman on their board. The government is urging all businesses to ensure that more women were reaching the highest ranks of management. (Financial Times*)


Vanguard and BlackRock uncovered as largest investors in coal industry

US fund manager Vanguard has been named the world’s largest institutional investor in the coal industry, with holdings of almost $86 billion, according to research by 30 NGOs, including Rainforest Action Network and Urgewald. Alongside BlackRock’s $84 billion investment in the coal industry, the world’s second-largest, the two companies account for 17% of all institutional investment in the coal industry.  This comes alongside former Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s description of Brookfield’s $600 billion portfolio as “carbon neutral” despite investments in coal and other fossil fuels. These revelations follow calls from BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink for a renewed focus on environmentally friendly investments. (City A.M., Bloomberg)


600 business giants form new network on climate resilience and adaptation

Businesses with combined annual revenues of more than $3 trillion, spanning a range of the global economy's biggest sectors, have formed a new network aimed at helping the private sector work with cities and governments to build climate resilience. The new network has garnered the support of 600 businesses, including Tesco,  HSBC,  BP,  and Deloitte. Its mission is to act as a global hub to spur knowledge, advice and best practice, and bring forward innovative solutions to climate and societal challenges. The signatory businesses have committed to lobby for stronger policies on climate-resilient infrastructure, advocate for private-sector leadership on resilience, create cross-sector networks and working groups, and leverage the combined financial power of its members to shift finance and investment in low-carbon sectors (Edie)


Facebook and Instagram ban Myanmar military as first pro-coup rally takes place

Social media giant Facebook will ban the Myanmar military from its platform, on grounds of its “exceptionally severe” human rights abuses and the “clear” risk of future military-initiated violence in Myanmar. The company will also ban all “Tatmadaw-linked commercial entities” from advertising on its platform. The move comes after supporters of Myanmar’s military attacked anti-coup protesters in Yangon after weeks of pro-democracy rallies. Facebook, which has been used continuously by the junta to announce news and share propaganda, had already imposed measures to curb the Myanmar military’s ability to spread ‘misinformation’ on its platforms. The ban will also apply to Facebook-owned Instagram. (The Guardian)


Drax scraps plan for Europe's largest gas plant after climate protests

Energy company Drax has scrapped its plans to build Europe’s largest gas power plant at its site in North Yorkshire following opposition from climate groups. Activists argued the plans were inconsistent with the UK’s ambitions to lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The FTSE-listed utility plans to focus on plans to generate more electricity by burning wood chips, known as biomass. It claims that this will be a carbon neutral “renewable” energy source, yet scientists are still skeptical on the carbon accounting of biomass burning and claims of carbon neutrality.(The Guardian)

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2021 Actions for Business