Top Stories

May 18, 2021


Wells Fargo launches banking inclusion plan for underserved communities

Financial services firm Wells Fargo launched a 10-year commitment to help unbanked individuals in the US gain access to affordable, mainstream bank accounts. The initiative aims to help Black and African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, who account for over half of the country's 7 million unbanked households, have easier access to low-cost banking. To achieve its goals, the bank has committed to redesigning 100 branches in low-to-middle income neighbourhoods to enable one-to-one consultations, offer digital banking access and conduct financial health seminars. Wells Fargo will also launch a National Unbanked Advisory Taskforce and deepen its existing relationships with Black-owned Minority Depository Institutions, which are more likely to lend in underserved minority communities, by allowing customers of those institutions to withdraw cash from Wells Fargo's ATMs and incur no fees. (Reuters)


Washington State tells businesses to eliminate GHG emissions by 2050

The Governor of Washington is signing a law that mandates a broad swath of industries eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The ‘Climate Commitment Act’ sets a cap on greenhouse gas and creates a market where polluting industries buy and sell credits from the state for every ton of greenhouse gas they emit. Over time, the state will reduce the numbers of credits it sells, forcing polluters to adapt or compete for a dwindling number of allowances. Businesses that have to buy and sell in the new marketplace include refineries, manufacturers, and power companies, with agriculture exempted. The law also states that at least 35% of the revenue from carbon caps will be invested in communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution. The new standards will go into effect in 2023. (Bloomberg Green)


Five-hundred global firms put disability inclusion on boardroom agendas

Business leaders from 500 of the world’s biggest companies, including Microsoft, Unilever, Google and Coca-Cola, have joined The Valuable 500 global disability network, and have agreed to raising disability representation through quarterly updates and reporting on their progress. The network aims to tackle the lack of diversity representation among multinational firms. According to the network, only five FTSE 100 companies have issued board-level statements about disability, while only 10 have set goals related to inclusion, and almost one in three fail to meet government website accessibility requirements. The organisation said 13 of the companies would undertake further work to improve disability inclusion by working with other firms in the network as part of the second phase of its campaign, including Allianz, BBC, Sony, and Sky. (The Guardian)


Unilever reduces its waste footprint with recyclable toothpaste tubes

Unilever's oral care brands, including Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup, will convert their entire global toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025. After four years of development, consumer goods giant Unilever has produced recyclable tubes, which will be made available later this year in France and India. Traditionally, toothpaste tubes are made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which is difficult to recycle. The new tubes replace the aluminium with a material made mostly of High-Density Polyethylene, which is one of the most widely recyclable plastics globally, and the thinnest plastic material available on the toothpaste market, reducing the amount of plastic needed for each tube. The company has committed to make the innovation available for other companies to adopt, in order to encourage wider industry change. (Business Green)


Half of global single-use plastic waste traced to 20 petrochemicals firms

Just 20 companies are responsible for producing over half of all the single-use plastic which ends up going to waste worldwide, with only a tiny fraction of the material currently recycled, according to research led by Australian charity the Minderoo Foundation. Of those 20 companies, which together contribute 5.9 million tonnes of global plastic waste each year, US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil tops the list as the biggest single corporate source of plastic pollution, closely followed by chemicals giant Dow and China's Sinopec. The report argues that while much of the blame for the plastic waste crisis has historically been placed on bottled drinks brands like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, such materials are largely sourced from a small group of petrochemicals companies which manufacture polymers, the building block of plastics. (Business Green)


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