Top Stories

January 21, 2022


Hundreds of scientists call on PR and advertising firms to drop fossil fuel clients

More than 450 scientists have issued a letter that calls on PR and advertising agencies to introduce measures to stop the spread of climate “disinformation”. The call is being led by the Clean Creatives campaigning organisation, which aims to decarbonise PR firms’ client portfolios. The letter states that fossil fuel companies are working with PR and advertising agencies to spread misinformation about their own approaches to sustainability, and urges the firms to drop fossil fuel clients that plan to expand production of oil and gas. The letter was published days after Edelman pledged to only work with clients committed to accelerating the net-zero transition. The letter alludes to previous studies published in the scientific journal Climate Change that identified hundreds of PR and advertising campaigns designed to obstruct climate action. (edie)


Facebook stalling report on human rights impact in India

Former employee of social media platform Facebook, Frances Haugen, and other prominent whistleblowers have renewed calls for Facebook to release a report on its impact in India, alleging the company is purposely obscuring human rights concerns. More than 20 organisations, as well as former Facebook vice-president Brian Boland, are demanding parent company Meta release its findings. In 2020, Meta commissioned an independent review of its impact in India – the company’s largest market at 340 million users – but activists say it has repeatedly delayed its release. In 2021 Haugen revealed how Facebook has struggled to monitor problematic content in countries with large user bases. The leaked papers revealed in particular how users in India were inundated with fake news, hate speech including anti-Muslim posts and bots interfering with elections. (The Guardian)


Global energy transition to cause short-term drop in GDP

A report from natural resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie has shown that the transition to clean energy could shave 2% off global GDP by 2050, but is likely recoverable before the end of the century. The report highlights that, while investments in technologies such as solar, wind and battery will generate jobs and a 1.6% boost to global GDP by 2050, the transition will likely cause a loss of jobs and tax revenues in fossil fuel production. The total economic impact, totalling $75 trillion, will not be felt evenly with China expected to burden 27% of its impact, and economies such as Iraq without reserves to invest in renewable technologies will suffer the biggest financial losses. Comparatively, the US will face 12%, Europe 11% and India 7% of the economic hit. (Reuters)


UK Government proposes digital tracking system to target waste

The UK’s Environment Minister has confirmed that the Government has launched consultations on efforts to cut down on waste crime. Between 2018 and 2019 waste crime, such as fly-tipping, cost the English economy around £924 million. In 2022, local authorities have already dealt with more than one million cases of fly-tipping. The Government is seeking feedback on proposals to increase background checks for firms involved in the handling, moving and trading of waste. Additionally, a mandatory digital tracking system has been proposed, designed to overhaul existing waste record keeping. The new system would see organisations record information from the point of production through to disposal, including recycling and reuse. The system is expected to increase detection of waste crime. (edie)


UK Government pauses introduction of animal welfare policies

Key pieces of animal welfare legislation have been put on pause in the UK after a series of delays passing through Parliament. The bill includes policies that ban trophy hunting imports and live exports of livestock, and introduce stricter sentences for puppy thieves, as well as enshrining in law the feelings of animals including lobsters and fish. However, some Conservative MPs have argued that the policies will make life harder for farmers, causing animal welfare standards to be raised in farms, and others argue it could harm the fishing industry. The policies have been unpopular with various influential members of the Conservative party, with MPs in rural constituencies suggesting the policies put them at odds with landowning shooting donors and voters. (The Guardian)



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B4SI Annual Review 2021