Top Stories

March 03, 2021

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Netflix to invest $100 million to improve diversity in TV shows and films

Streaming platform Netflix has announced a $100 million fund to advance diversity on-screen and behind the camera. Over the next five years, the company will invest in external organizations with a strong track record of advancing the success of underrepresented communities in the TV and film industries, as well as bespoke in-company programmes designed to help Netflix identify, train and provide job placements for up-and-coming talent. The pledge comes after Netflix unveiled its first comprehensive study of diversity and inclusion in its film and series programming. Netflix has made substantial improvements in representation with female cast, crew and directors, Black cast and crew, and women of colour in leading roles. However, the company lags behind the industry in representing people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ and Latinx/Hispanic communities. (Variety)

SUPPLY CHAIN

Boohoo faces probe over supply chain forced labour that could cut access to US

Fast fashion brand Boohoo is facing a possible investigation that could jeopardise its right to import into the US, as the country’s border agency confirmed it had received sufficient information to probe claims that the British retailer’s clothes are made in conditions that breach its rules. It follows a complaint by anti-trafficking organisation, Liberty Shared, to US Customs and Border Protection, which alleged that reports about Boohoo’s supplier revealed widespread prevalence of undocumented clothes makers, many of whom were paid illegally low wages and worked for suppliers off-the-books. The claim argues these and other identified malpractices “satisfy some or all” of the International Labour Organization’s indicators of forced labour, which would break the requirements to sell in the US market. (Financial Times*)

SUSTAINABLE INVEST 

Strong net zero policy could help UK attract £350bn of investment by 2050

The low-carbon energy transition in the UK could unlock £350 billion of investible assets by 2050, if businesses and policymakers do more to support key sectors. Provided increased business and policymaker support, the from Lane Clark & Peacock envisions £125 billion of investible assets being unlocked by 2031, rising to £350 billion by 2050, mostly in the wind, solar and storage sectors. The report argues more sector-specific supports are needed to scale up the energy technologies and infrastructure needed to deliver net-zero. It suggests action should focus on: changes to the Contracts for Difference scheme to ensure a diverse and large array of assets can be financed; measures to help investors develop products and new due diligence requirements; and clarity over the net-zero mandate of the National Infrastructure Bank. (Edie)

GENDER EQUALITY

The coronavirus pandemic is reversing gender equality progress in the workplace

Professional services firm PwC has found the coronavirus pandemic has pushed back women’s progress in the workplace to 2017 levels. The report analysed women across 33 OECD countries to produce the annual Women in Work index. Using OECD forecasts of the unemployment rate and labour force size for 2019 to gauge the potential impact of the pandemic in 2020-22, the report found the gender equality index is expected to fall 2 points between 2019 and 2021, below the overall average score of 62 points in 2017. Women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, more likely to work in the hardest-hit sectors. Undoing the pandemic’s damage by 2030, will require progress towards gender equality to be twice as fast as in the previous decade. (CNBC)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate extremes linked to lower birth weights in Brazil's Amazon

A study by researchers from Britain's Lancaster University and the FIOCRUZ health research institute, linking extreme rains with lower birth weights in Brazil's Amazon region, underscores the long-term health impacts of weather extremes connected to climate change. Exceptionally heavy rain and floods during pregnancy were linked to lower birth weight and premature births in Brazil's northern Amazonas state. The study, which compared nearly 300,000 births over 11 years with local weather data, found that babies born after extreme rainfall were more likely to have low birth weights, and that even non-extreme intense rainfall was linked to a 40% higher chance of a child being low birth-weight. The research calls for policy interventions including antenatal health coverage, transport for rural high school teenagers, and improved early warning systems for floods. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

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