Top Stories

March 15, 2022


Shell directors sued for ‘failing to prepare company for net-zero’

The directors of multinational oil and gas company Shell are being sued by environmental law organisation ClientEarth for failing to properly prepare the company for net-zero. In what is thought to be a first-of-its-kind action, the lawsuit argues that Shell’s 13 directors are personally liable for failing to devise a strategy in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C. The lawsuit claims the failure puts the directors in breach of their duties under the UK’s Companies Act. If successful, Shell’s board could be forced by the courts to change its strategy, taking specific steps to align its plan with the Paris deal. However, if the claimants lose, they could be liable for the full costs of the case, including directors’ legal fees. (The Guardian)


Authority calls for legal definitions for environmental terminology

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recommended the government introduce legislative definitions to help meet the country’s net-zero and environmental goals. The CMA recommends introducing legislative definitions for terms such as ‘recyclable’ and ‘carbon neutral’ to cut down on misleading green claims on consumer products’ marketing material and packaging and to enable consumers to make informed decisions. The watchdog made the recommendation as it published advice on how competition and consumer laws could be reformed to help the country meet its environmental goals. The CMA has also recommended the government provide clearer advice to businesses about what joint sustainability initiatives are legal under competition law, with the aim of increasing cooperation between businesses on a range of issues related to waste reduction and boosting biodiversity. (Business Green)*


BrewDog CEO hired investigators to monitor former employees

The CEO of brewery company BrewDog has been found to have hired private investigators to obtain information on former employees and acquaintances he believed were involved in a “smear campaign” against him. CEO James Watt gathered private investigators from investigator company Integritas Investigative Solutions, who approached employees and former employees asking them to disclose information about their work experiences and relationships. Integritas investigators also approached a friend of a female former acquaintance of Watt asking for details of their discussions. The woman claims to have received multiple messages from Watt threatening legal action. In 2021, BrewDog apologised to former employees following accusations of a “culture of fear”. A BrewDog spokesperson has defended the use of investigators stating they are “pursuing a private criminal prosecution for fraud and malicious communication”. (The Guardian)


NGO coalition calls for UN to adopt nature-positive framework

A coalition of some of the world’s largest environmental NGOs has called for the UN to adopt a target to “achieve a nature positive world by 2030” in its global biodiversity framework. NGOs, including the Nature Conservancy, WWF, Conservation International and Wildlife Conservation Society, have called for a goal to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. An existing ‘Global Biodiversity Framework’ draft, which has received criticism for lacking detail and long-term objectives, is currently subject to negotiations and is expected to be finalised by April 2022. NGOs are calling for the framework to achieve a full nature recovery by 2050 through measures that track and improve migration patterns, carbon sequestration and storage, ecological integrity of habitats, extinction risk of species, wildlife abundance and genetic diversity. (edie)  


Russian authorities label Instagram as “extremist organisation”

Russia’s state media authority Roskomanadzor is to block social media platform due to its “calls to violence”. Instagram owner Meta said it would let its users in some countries call for violence against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian soldiers, temporarily allowing violent posts targeted at Russian invaders that would usually break the platform’s rules. However, Meta will not allow calls for violence against civilians. In response, Russia called on the US to stop Meta’s so called “extremist activities”, declaring the  major tech company an “extremist organisation”. The move is expected to have significant long-term implications for Russian civilians. Instagram is a popular platform for small businesses and lifestyle bloggers, and without access to a VPN many Russians may now be cut off from major Western social media platforms. (BBC News)

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