Top Stories

April 07, 2021


Goldman Sachs and Starbucks among organizations pledging to close racial wealth gap in U.S.

Goldman Sachs, Starbucks and a range of other organizations across the U.S., including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Robin Hood Foundation, have announced a collaborative effort aimed at narrowing the 90 % racial wealth gap that exists between Black and white families in the U.S. Through the NinetyToZero initiative, partner organizations will set goals and track progress on areas like hiring Black employees, as well as spending and relationships with Black-owned businesses. The initiative also intends to factor in efforts around inclusion into executive accountability. Other parties to the initiative include investment management company Lord Abbett, Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and McKinsey & Co. (CNBC)


BNP Paribas Asset Management tightens green bond criteria to combat greenwashing

BNP Paribas Asset Management is introducing tougher criteria for green bonds, as the firm believes greenwashing is still prevalent in the market despite the use of internationally-accepted market standards. BNP Paribas’ new methodology will use the EU Taxonomy to assess companies’ performance around three criteria: "green-ness", or the environmental benefits of the use of proceeds; "integrity", or how proceeds are implemented through measuring and reporting; and "ambition", assessed by the extent to which a bond contributes to the borrower’s decarbonisation. Green bonds will have to meet minimum standards for all three criteria to be purchased for the firm's global green strategy. The asset manager will also turn down deals from companies that set their own targets, as it states that “self-labelled” is not enough. (IFRE)


UK public companies fail to report adequately on climate risks

Fewer than 50 UK public companies are comprehensively reporting on climate risks and setting targets in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), despite investor pressure and government plans to make the framework mandatory. About 154 companies last year referenced the TCFD, according to a report from FTI Consulting and financial and corporate research company Sentieo. Despite an almost quadrupling in companies referencing the TCFD since 2017, few were doing an adequate job reporting under the framework, with many just making glancing references and failing to set targets or monitor their efforts in either their annual reports or financial results. The pitfalls of reporting from UK public firms come despite the government’s plans to require climate risk disclosures across the economy. (Financial Times*)


NHS director calls for tax on gambling firms to fund addiction treatment

NHS director has called for a mandatory levy on UK gambling firms to fund addiction treatment, amid the government’s review of laws on the betting sector and plans for new gambling clinics as addiction cases spike. The national mental health director for NHS England denounced the current voluntary system that lets the industry dictate how much it contributes to helping addicts, which has resulted in severe underfunding of gambling addiction support services. 750 people have been referred to specialist clinics for treatment of serious addiction since April 2020, with that figure set to increase due to the hike in gambling during the Covid-19 pandemic. A report published last year found that just 3% of gambling addicts in Britain were receiving specialist help, often relying on industry-funded helplines instead. (The Guardian)


Danone-owned dairy giant unveils lifetime carbon emissions for its products

Danone-owned brand Horizon Organic, the largest USDA certified organic dairy brand in the world, has publicly disclosed the summary of life cycle assessments (LCA) for its whole milk half gallons. This was done in a bid to outline areas of improvement as it strives to become "carbon positive" across its full supply chain in the US by 2025. The company has confirmed that a half-gallon carton of its whole milk has a carbon footprint of 5.58 kg CO2e. In addition to carbon labelling, the firm is focusing on partnerships and investing in family farmers to implement carbon reduction projects to meet its 2025 goal. It is also aiming to accelerate the uptake of low-carbon fuel by supporting the BSR Sustainable Fuel Buyers principles. (Edie)

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2021 Actions for Business