Top Stories

March 31, 2022


UN biodiversity talks end without strong treaty to halt nature loss

UN biodiversity talks in Geneva loss have closed with accusations of “poor progress” made by negotiators from 165 countries to develop a new global treaty to halt nature loss. The  UN’s 15th Convention on Biological Diversity  aimed to develop and ratify a global deal to halt nature loss and move towards nature restoration with hopes of creating a treaty similar in scale to the Paris Agreement. However, due to limited results, a second round of negotiations will now be held in June in Nairobi before a final treaty can be ratified in China in late 2022. While nations broadly agreed on the ‘30x30 commitment’ to protect at least 30% of the planet’s marine and terrestrial habitats, some wealthier nations disagreed on the level of financial support and others were unwilling to scale back intensive fishing and farming. (edie)


Kellogg’s workers win significant raises and benefits following striking

Around 570 workers at food manufacturing company Kellogg’s have won a new contract that will deliver more than 15% wage increases over three years, securing the largest wage and benefits improvements seen by the US Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The agreement comes after 1,400 workers at the company’s cereal plants went on strike for nearly three months in 2021. Kellogg’s has also faced strikes in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee in 2021. Experts say ongoing labour shortages across the US have given unions more leverage. Other industries have faced unionisation, with coffee chain Starbucks seeing half a dozen stores unionise and roughly 140 stores trying to unionise. E-commerce giant Amazon is also trying to stave off unions at two of its warehouses in New York and Alabama. (Al Jazeera)


Swiss Re investors debate chair revote over lack of gender diversity

Proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended investors vote against the re-election of reinsurer Swiss Re’s chair over concerns around a lack of gender diversity on the board. Women presently make up 23% of Swiss Re’s board, increasing to 25% when a male director resigns at the upcoming AGM. ISS is endorsing the rest of the board appointments and says the vote against Swiss Re chair Sergio Ermotti is warranted “because the board is insufficiently gender diverse”. Before this, Swiss Re said it would increase female representation on the board to 30% by the time of next year’s AGM. ISS said some investors may choose to support Ermotti’s re-election due to its recent statement on diversity but added that “the threshold has not been met in the past years”. (Financial Times)*


Facebook algorithm drives sceptics towards climate change denial

A report published by human rights group Global Witness claims to have found that the algorithm used by social media platform Facebook is amplifying people’s doubts on climate change rather than highlighting reliable information. Researchers created two climate sceptic test accounts which followed established scientific bodies. They tracked the suggestions of Facebook’s algorithm to both accounts. One of the two accounts soon saw increasingly extreme content denying anthropogenic climate change, including pages calling it a “hoax” and attacking measures to mitigate its effects. Facebook’s parent company Meta says it is flagging more posts about climate with information labels, with a spokesperson claiming its “systems are designed to reduce misinformation, including climate misinformation, not to amplify it”. However, another recent study rebukes such claims, finding that  fewer than 10% of misleading posts were marked as misinformation. (BBC News)


Report finds that Asian banks are not delivering on decarbonisation

A study has found that the lending policies of Asia’s major banks are “falling short” of national plans to reduce carbon emissions and meet global pledges to tackle climate change. The study found that the region’s big banks have responded to the climate crisis by launching green or sustainable finance products. However, despite these green products, the banks were found to have lagged in diverting capital away from carbon-intensive industries or addressing climate change through governance, risk management or policies. For instance, none of the scoped 32 banks have coal policies that fully align with the Paris Agreement and only 6 have policies to phase out coal lending, with 13 having policies banning the financing of new coal-fired power. Additionally, only 9 banks have long-term net-zero commitments for financed emissions. (Eco-Business)

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