Top Stories

April 07, 2022


Amazon to ban ‘union’ and related terminology from staff chat application

Multinational technology company Amazon has reportedly discussed plans to block the word “union” and related keywords from an internal messaging app it is developing for workers. The list of banned words includes “union”, “fire”, “compensation”, “plantation”, “slave labor”, “diversity”, “robots”, “grievance”, and “injustice”, among others. The messaging app is designed to serve as an internal social media programme where workers can praise colleague performance with the intention of increasing mood among workers and reducing attrition. Developers created an “auto bad word monitor” to prevent workers from sending inappropriate messages, which included union terminology. Amazon has responded to say that the app would only screen terms that are “offensive or harassing”. The news comes days after Amazon workers in New York won a landmark vote to form a union. (The Guardian)


UK targets 95% low-carbon electricity by 2030, but increases oil and gas

The UK government has issued an outline of its Energy Security Strategy, increasing targets for offshore wind, hydrogen and nuclear power generation. The strategy is designed to help the UK respond to the energy price crisis, promising “major acceleration of homegrown power generation” of both low-carbon and fossil-fuelled. The strategy aims to facilitate an electricity generation mix that is 95% low-carbon by 2030. For renewables, the strategy introduces an increased 2030 target for installed offshore wind capacity from 40GW to 50GW. Nuclear will also be leveraged to provide 25% of the UK’s electricity by 2050. The strategy also points towards expanded fossil fuel production, a move at odds with the findings of the most recent IPCC report, which warns against new fossil fuel infrastructure development to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. (edie)


TCFD mandate comes into force for over 1,300 of the UK’s largest companies

New climate disclosure rules outlined by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) have now come into force in the UK for over 1,300 of the UK’s largest companies and financial institutions. The rules  apply to the UK’s largest traded companies, banks, insurers as well as large private companies with over 500 employees and £500 million turnover. It marks a milestone in the Treasury’s push to mobilise companies and investors to align with TCFD standards. The regulations require companies and financiers to disclose material information in their annual reports on all four of the TCFD’s core categories: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. It aims for uniform climate-related reporting to make it easier for investors, citizens and civil society to scrutinise businesses on climate risk and opportunity performance. (Business Green)*


Data initiative launched to improve racial diversity in UK’s ESG profession

A new initiative is being launched in the UK by a coalition of education charities such as Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) tasked with helping environmental and sustainability NGOs address the lack of diversity in their workforce. The initiative will ask NGOs to publicly report on the racial diversity of their workforce, where SOS-UK data shows that only 4.8% of environment professionals in the UK identify as Black, Asian or from another minority ethnic background, with the industry average being 12.6%. The initiative aims to enable stakeholders to access information on how diverse their workforce and board of trustees are, in order to promote open dialogue around planning for improvements. It follows a similar reporting initiative already underway in the US – the Green 2.0 scheme. (edie)


Calorie labels to appear on menus in large restaurant chains in England

Under new rules, restaurants, cafés and takeaways in England with over 250 staff must now display calorie information of non-pre-packaged food and soft drink as part of UK government plans to “tackle obesity”. Despite government statements that it consulted “extensively” with mental health charities and experts, the move has been met with criticism from some in the sector and charities. A spokesperson for industry group UK Hospitality stated it was “unfair to expect businesses devastated by Covid to introduce complicated and costly new labelling.” Meanwhile, UK eating disorder charity Beat argued the mandatory calorie labelling will contribute to harmful eating disorder thoughts and worsening behaviours, saying there is evidence that calorie information causes anxiety and distress for people affected by eating disorders, and little evidence of improved eating habits. (BBC News)

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