Top Stories

August 16, 2021


Calls for laws on UK workers’ right to disconnect amid ‘overtime epidemic’

Covid working from home has caused an “epidemic of hidden overtime” that particularly affects women, leading to a need for new “right to disconnect” laws, according to a report from Autonomy thinktank. The organisation warned unpaid labour was a growing problem in the age of increased home working, with women at a greater risk of negative health impacts and mental distress. It proposed draft legislation that would create a “right to disconnect”, which would stipulate employees do not have to take calls or read emails during their time off. It called for two amendments to be made to the Employment Rights Act 1996 to ensure workers have the right to fully disconnect from all work communications outside working hours and bring employment tribunals for any breach of that. (The Guardian)


Shell to pay $111 million to Nigerian farmers over decades-old oil spills

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay around €95 million to communities in southern Nigeria over crude oil spills in 1970. After a 13-year legal battle, a Dutch court in January this year ordered Shell to compensate three out of four Nigerian farmers who lodged the case in 2008 for spills that polluted much of their land in the Niger Delta. The decision is the latest involving Opec-member Nigeria’s oil-producing south where communities have long fought legal battles over oil spills and environmental damage. The company said it maintained the spills were caused by third parties during Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war when much damage was done to oil pipelines and infrastructure. (The Guardian)


New York's pension fund to review oil holdings, axes more coal investments

New York's pension fund, the third-largest U.S. public pension fund, is launching reviews over climate concerns on $640 million invested in 42 shale oil and gas firms, including ConocoPhillips, Hess and Pioneer Natural Resources. After completing its shale review, the New York fund plans to turn next to oil and gas pipeline and processing investments. The move by the New York state pension fund comes days after the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported global warming was nearly out of control, and calling its findings "a death knell for coal and fossil fuels”. Major investors, including BlackRock have re-evaluated holdings in fossil fuel producers and prodded energy executives to reduce emissions and prepare for a lower carbon world. (Reuters)


Asian finance sector perceived as lacking sustainability leadership

Consumers in Asia Pacific believe that financial services brands are not supporting sustainable development in emerging markets, and are less trustworthy than tech or car brands, a BBC study suggests. The study looks at Asian and globally headquartered banks and financial services corporations operating in the region, including Standard Chartered Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Japanese insurer Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group. It finds consumers want financial services companies to play a more active role in supporting more environmentally and socially sustainable economies, but that the sector appears to be lacking sustainability leadership, with just 9% of consumers feeling that financial entities are sustainability leaders. (Eco-Business)


Samsung phones to feature recycled parts and plastic-free packaging

All Samsung phones are to feature recycled materials from 2025, the company has pledged as part of a new set of wide-ranging sustainability targets. The commitments from part of 'Galaxy for the Planet', a sustainability platform designed to deliver tangible climate actions across Samsung's business. The initial set of targets have a deadline of 2025 and together aim to reduce the environmental footprint and lessen resource depletion that results from the production and disposal of Galaxy products. The new goals include eliminating all plastic packaging, achieving zero waste to landfill across the company's operations, and reducing standby power consumption of all smartphone chargers to below 0.005W by 2025. (Business Green)


Senior Climate Change Consultant, London

Executive Assistant and Office Manager, New York

Sustainability Senior Consultant, North America

Sustainability Senior Researcher, North America