Top Stories

May 17, 2022


EU drive for clean energy could see solar panels on all new buildings

The European Commission has outlined plans for all new buildings in the EU to be fitted with solar panels on their roofs in a bid to drive renewable energy to replace the continent’s reliance on Russian oil and gas. The European Commission wants half the bloc’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030, more than double the current figure. The total cost of achieving this would reach hundreds of billions of euros but be offset by an annual €84 billion saving on imported fuel. The ‘RepowerEU’ document, which could still be amended before publication, says that renewables are the best way to fight climate change and achieve energy independence, along with liquefied natural gas imports and hydrogen generated from renewable electricity. (Financial Times)*


Chile’s constitutional assembly rejects major mining rights overhaul

A constitutional assembly in Chile rejected a major overhaul to mining rights, including expanding state ownership. Article 27, which controversially would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines, faced fierce opposition from the mining sector and was voted down. The environmental commission submitted multiple variations of the article, but they all failed to achieve the 103-vote supermajority needed to pass into the draft constitution. However, Article 25, which states that miners must set aside "resources to repair damage" to the environment and harmful effects where mining takes place, did get a supermajority and will be in the draft constitution. The assembly also approved banning mining in glaciers, protected areas and those essential to protecting the water system. (Reuters)


World Green Building Council launches new Circularity Accelerator

Representative organisation the World Green Building Council (WGBC) hopes to advance the transition towards net-zero emissions with the launch of its new Circularity Accelerator programme. The programme is aimed at raising awareness and understanding of sustainable construction materials and practices across the industry. The Circularity Accelerator will support the WGBC’s global network of more than 70 national Green Building Councils and their 36,000 members. Specifically, the programme will help businesses meet a 2030 target for the adoption of sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources within the built environment, achieving zero waste to landfill targets, and working towards net-zero whole life resource depletion. This comes at the same time as the creation of the ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard’ for the built environment sector, spurring industry-wide collaboration in sustainability. (Business Green)*


Goldman Sachs allows senior staff to take unlimited paid vacation

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has said its senior staff will be allowed to take unlimited paid leave under the bank’s new “flexible vacation” plans. Junior bankers will still only be entitled to a fixed amount of holiday but are to be given two extra days off each year under the new policy. The bank has been accused of overworking junior staff in the past. In a memo sent to staff globally, the bank said workers would be required to spend at least three weeks on leave annually from next year. LinkedIn, Bumble and Netflix all offer the same unlimited leave perk. A spokesperson from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said the plan could “empower” employees, although warned the policy may be exposed “to abuse” with people taking less leave. (BBC News; Bloomberg*)


Absence of flexibility pushes half of women to consider leaving job

New research shows that more than half (52%) of women say a lack of flexibility at work has pushed them to leave or consider leaving a job. A survey of more than 2,000 workers and 503 hiring managers commissioned by networking platform LinkedIn found that 21% of women feel their career progression has been negatively impacted by a lack of flexible working, while 25% have taken a career break as a result. This is despite 80% of hiring managers stating they have offered staff greater flexibility since the pandemic hit. Asked about the policies they felt would be the most helpful to them, 74% of women said flexible start and finish times would be beneficial, 71% wanted an increased annual leave allowance, and 68% said a four-day working week. (Personnel Today)

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