Top Stories

May 28, 2021


ExxonMobil suffers major shareholder rebellion over climate

The Engie No.1  hedge fund unseated at least two board members of natural gas company Exxon Mobil in a bid to force the company’s leadership to reckon with the risk of failing to adjust its business strategy to match global efforts to combat climate change. Eight of Exxon's nominees including the CEO were re-elected to its 12-member board of directors, along with two confirmed, and potentially three, of Engine No. 1's nominees. The hedge fund has already said the company would need to cut oil production, indicating they will keep pressing management to shift strategy. Energy firms are under increasing pressure to adjust to a lower-carbon world.  Exxon’s news comes as French oil giant Total rebrands as TotalEnergies as it shifts some of its focus towards renewable energy sources. (Reuters; Financial Times*; BBC News)


Tesco admits labour abuses found in India garment supply chain

Supermarket chain Tesco said it has found labour abuses in its garment supply chain in southern India after receiving evidence of widespread forced labour involving migrant women in cotton spinning-mills across Tamil Nadu. Tesco said that one of its supply chains is linked to a spinning mill included in a new report by NGOs Somo and Arisa that found evidence across the region of multiple labour abuses including deception, intimidation and threats towards vulnerable female workers, abusive working and living conditions and excessive overtime. Tesco states it is working alongside other brands and with Somo to investigate and ensure improvements are made. The report named other international brands including Next, Sainsbury’s, Gap and Ikea, which it claims are directly or indirectly linked to the mills investigated. (The Guardian)



Unilever forges fungi partnership to scale up plant-based protein

FMCG giant Unilever has partnered with a food-tech firm producing fungi-based mycoprotein to make plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. It has forged a partnership with ENOUGH, which has patented a zero-waste fermentation process that turns natural fungi into mycoprotein. The resulting ingredient is high in protein, fibre and amino acids. ENOUGH’s mycoprotein could be used to make plant-based alternatives to products like burgers, sausages and meat pieces. Unilever’s overarching target on plant-based foods is to reach €1 billion in sales by 2025-2027 and to increase the amount of so-called ‘Future 50 Foods’ – plant-based ingredients which are proven to have a lower environmental impact – used to make products for several of its most recognisable brands, including Knorr. (Edie)


Nature-based climate solutions require $8.1trn over next 30 years

As much as $8.1 trillion global investment in protecting, conserving and restoring the natural world is required by 2050 to tackle the crises of climate, biodiversity and land degradation, with annual finance needing to triple by 2030, according to a UN-led . The report, which considers  the finance needed to restore biodiversity while also enhancing the ability of nature to store carbon and mitigate the impacts of the changing climate,,  estimates annual investments in nature-based solutions need to reach $536 billion per year by 2050. Annual investments would need to triple by the end of the decade and increase fourfold by 2050 from current levels, which stood at around $133 billion a year in 2018. The report stresses the need to make nature central to public and private sector decision-making. (Business Green)


Recruiters need to tackle exploitation via ‘umbrella companies’

Recruiters must clamp down on tax abuse and exploitation of workers via umbrella companies, the UK’s Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) lobby group has told members, amid growing pressure for regulation of temporary labour. So-called umbrella companies, used by recruiters and employers to pay temporary workers, have attracted growing scrutiny from MPs and unions following reports of abuses across the industry. I Recent investigations raised concerns about agencies supplying the NHS test-and-trace scheme. The REC has urged HM Revenue and Customs to set up a new hotline to report wrongdoing by umbrella companies, and wrote to its members urging them to check that the companies they use are compliant with the law. Abuses by umbrella companies are thought to cost workers and the exchequer as much as £4.5 billion annually.  (The Guardian)

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