Top Stories

June 18, 2021


Japan to fall far short of goal for more female managers

Women make up fewer than 10% of managers at most Japanese companies, and a big majority of firms say it will be impossible to boost this to a target of 30% this decade. A Reuters Corporate Survey found women make up fewer than 10% of managers in 80% of companies in Japan, which ranked 121st out of 153 countries in a World Economic Forum report on gender parity in 2020. Japan's biggest business lobby, Keidanren, is pushing for an increase in female executives, setting a 30% goal by 2030. However, respondents to the survey said that promoting more women would need changes to Japan's male-oriented corporate culture and more support in areas like childcare. Some 86% of survey respondents said it would be impossible to achieve Keidanren's target. (Reuters)


Green activists criticise easyJet for launching 12 new UK routes

EasyJet has launched 12 new domestic UK flying routes, a decision criticised by green campaigners as likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions. The airline said the routes, which will include Birmingham to Newquay– less than 200 miles –, Liverpool to Bournemouth and Manchester to Edinburgh, as well as to Belfast and the Channel Islands, were in response to passenger demand following restrictions on travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of them are viable by train, but rail operators charge higher prices. The government is to make reductions in air passenger duty on domestic flights, which will make flying even cheaper compared with train journeys. Campaigners have warned that a series of recent actions by the government appear to undermine the UK’s green commitments ahead of Cop26. (The Guardian)


Report accuses UK of failing to replace EU energy systems policy

Brexit is making the UK's transition to net-zero "more complex", a new report has warned, stating that Covid-19 has further delayed efforts to set strong decarbonisation policies for an independent UK. Published by the UK Energy Research Centre, the report concluded that “there has not been enough time nor the right political space” to adequately replace the majority of climate and energy rules that previously applied to the UK as an EU member state. While the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the two parties “creates a policy floor for the UK”, the report questions whether all measures are properly implemented and, whether, if not, the government will be properly held to account. (Edie)


Germany passes law on tougher oversight of supply chains

Germany’s parliament passed a supply chain act, where companies in Germany above a certain size must establish due diligence procedures that prevent human rights and environmental abuses within their global supply chains and take action if they find violations among their suppliers, facing fines of up to 2% of their annual global turnover if they violate the rules. The act will affect companies with more than 3,000 employees in Germany from 2023, and those with more than 1,000 employees from 2022. However, the law did not meet human rights advocates’ expectations as it only applies to companies’ direct suppliers, it does not offer victims improved recourse to compensation, and any fines paid will go to the German government, not victims, falling short of an earlier draft. (Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation)


Waitrose to ban peat compost from its shelves from 2022

Waitrose will stop selling compost containing peat at the end of this year in a bid to encourage customers to embrace more sustainable gardening practices. The supermarket plans to ban all peat compost from its shelves from 2022 in response to customer demand for peat-free options. The ban will come into effect a full two years before a national ban on sales of peat-based compost to gardeners comes into effect across England. Restoring peatland is vital to tackling climate change and boosting biodiversity. Peatland covers just 3% of the world's surface, but hold nearly 30% of all soil carbon. Peatland is the UK's greatest natural store of carbon, and the harvesting of peat for compost damages landscapes and ecosystems and releases greenhouse gases that contribute to global temperature rise. (Business Green)


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