Top Stories

March 30, 2021


One-third of the UK's biggest businesses signed up to 'Race to Zero'

Almost one in three FTSE100 companies have signed up to the UN's ‘Race to Zero’ campaign, designed to accelerate the adoption of net-zero targets ahead of COP26. Thirty firms from the FTSE100 have joined the campaign, doubling the cohort within  five months. The FTSE100 signatories represent a range of sectors, and include Sainsbury’s, Tesco, JD Sports, AstraZeneca, BT, Vodafone, British Land and Unilever. The FTSE100 signatories alone represent a total market capitalisation of £650 million. In joining Race to Zero, corporates commit to setting more ambitious targets in line with climate science and to using their reach to encourage climate action across their networks. This includes suppliers, customers and their respective sectors. Globally, more than 2,000 companies have joined the campaign to date. (Edie)


Volvo is set to give all employees 24 weeks of paid parental leave

Swedish automaker Volvo is increasing paid parental leave for employees globally to 24 weeks, regardless of gender. Employees — both hourly and salaried — who have been with the automaker for at least one year are eligible for the new ‘Family Bond’ programme, which covers those who become parents through birth, adoption, permanent foster care and surrogates, as well as non-birth parents in same-sex couples. Employees will be paid 80% of their base pay by default under the programme, and will be able to use the time off during the first three years of parenting a new child. The new policy is meant to assist the company in talent acquisition and retention as it focuses on becoming an all-electric vehicle manufacturer by 2030. (CNBC)


Vanguard commits to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

Vanguard, the world’s second-largest asset manager that holds $7 trillion assets, has pledged to slash emissions across its investment portfolios. The group has signed the ‘Net Zero Asset Managers’ initiative, which comprises big-name investors committed to achieving net zero by 2050. Within one year of joining, Vanguard will have to submit an interim target to cut emissions by 2030, and set out the proportion of assets to be managed in line with reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Vanguard’s large passive investing business means that its recent pledge could have huge ramifications for companies globally. Vanguard has faced repeated criticism for not taking climate risks seriously, and for regularly voting against shareholder resolutions aimed at pushing companies to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. (Financial Times*)


Global warming could cut over 60 countries' credit ratings by 2030

An algorithm-based by a group of UK universities has predicted that 63 countries could see their credit ratings drop because of climate change. Researchers from Cambridge University, the University of East Anglia and SOAS looked at a “realistic scenario”, known as RCP 8.5, where carbon and other polluting emissions continue to rise in coming decades. The study found rising temperatures, sea levels and other climate change effects will cause 63 countries to suffer average credit rating downgrades of 1.02 notches by 2030, rising to 80 countries losing 2.48 notches by 2100. Hardest hit include China, Chile, Malaysia and Mexico, which could see six notches of downgrades by the end of the century; as well as the US, Germany, Canada, Australia, India, and Peru, that could see around four. (Reuters)


Amazon hit with series of allegations over workers’ rights

A lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon alleging workers did not receive adequate lunch breaks at a California fulfilment centre is moving ahead. A former employee accuses Amazon of denying staff the required 30-minute meal breaks for each five-hour work period under Californian legislation, claiming that staffing issues and heavy workload made workers unable to take breaks if they wanted to finish their work on time. Additional recent allegations over workers' rights include reports of Amazon warehouse and delivery staff having to urinate in bottles due to lack of breaks. In the midst of these accusations, Amazon has come under suspicion of setting up employee-managed accounts in March on social media app Twitter, aimed at responding to negative tweets about the company. (Business Insider (1), Business Insider (2) )

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2021 Actions for Business