Top Stories

March 19, 2021


UK MPs criticise companies over Uighur forced labour in China

Some UK firms in fashion, retail, media and technology could all be implicated in the use of forced labour in China's Xinjiang region, including Boohoo, H&M, TikTok, The North Face, Nike and Disney, an MPs’ claims. A report from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee denounces a general lack of transparency from British companies, with many firms who still cannot guarantee that their supply chains are free from forced labour. The report recommends the government accelerates proposals to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and develops a policy framework for creating a whitelist and blacklist of companies which do and do not meet their obligations to uphold human rights throughout their supply chains, including financial penalties for non-compliant firms. (BBC News)


Rio Tinto endorses resolutions pushing for emissions cuts targets

Mining group Rio Tinto has announced plans to endorse resolutions to set targets for cutting carbon emissions and take tougher measures against lobby groups failing to follow its climate change goals, ahead of April’s shareholder meetings. Rio’s commitment meets demands from campaign group Market Forces, which requested it disclose and measure performance against targets for direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, including its Scope 3 emissions from its steel-making customers, which account for 94% of Rio’s total carbon footprint. It will also undertake an annual review of industry lobbyists to identify inconsistencies with the 2015 Paris Agreement and suspend membership of those not meeting the objectives. Mining companies around the world are under growing shareholder pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, as a shift towards cleaner energy accelerates. (Reuters)


Total ties customers’ emissions reductions to executive bonuses

French energy major Total will partly tie executive bonuses to the company’s success in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its customers. From 2021, a new criterion related to the reduction in Europe of Scope 3 emissions will be introduced for the allocation of performance shares to the CEO and all senior executives. The criterion relates to the goal of curbing scope 3 emissions in Europe by 30% by 2030, and eliminating them entirely on a net basis in the region by the middle of the century. The weight of criteria related to the company’s transformation strategy in variable compensation has also been increased. However, environmental charity Greenpeace warns that the bonus proposal won’t do enough to address climate change as Total’s targets fall short of major change. (Bloomberg)


Nomad Foods launches nature-positive partnership with WWF

Frozen foods major Nomad Foods – the owner of brands Birds Eye, Findus and Green Cuisine – has unveiled a new strategic partnership with global conservation charity WWF that will deliver "nature-positive" farming practices to protect and promote biodiversity while tackling the climate crisis. The partnership will aim to find nature-based solutions that respond to a triple challenge of feeding a swelling population, tackling the climate crisis, and reversing biodiversity loss. It will develop a blueprint for landscapes that are suitable for nature-positive farming approaches that enable food production while improving biodiversity, and to define measurement metrics for farms to find new ways of increasing key species, such as pollinators like bees. Additionally, the two organisations will communicate to customers about how the partnership is improving biodiversity through on-pack details. (Edie)


Facebook cracks down on the spread of political disinformation globally

Social media giant Facebook announced it will no longer recommend civic and political pages or new groups to all users globally. The policy builds on a temporary to such recommendations to US users ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Facebook won’t recommend new groups at all for 21 days, meaning group administrators will have to manually recruit followers. Facebook also announced other changes intended to slow the reach of political actors looking to use the platform for harmful purposes, and will reduce the distribution of posts from groups with community violations. Additionally, Facebook announced that individual users who accrue repeated violations in groups will be blocked from posting and commenting in groups, inviting others and creating new groups. (CNBC)


2021 Actions for Business