Top Stories

June 13, 2022


EU agrees on 40% quota for women on corporate boards

The EU has agreed that companies will face mandatory quotas to ensure women have at least 40% of seats on corporate boards. After 10 years of stalemate over the proposals, EU lawmakers hailed a “landmark” deal for gender equality. As well as the legally binding target, companies could also be fined for failing to recruit enough women to their non-executive boards and see board appointments cancelled for non-compliance with the law. From June 2026, large companies operating in the EU will have to ensure a share of the 40% of the “underrepresented sex” – usually women – among non-executive directors. The EU has also set a 33% target for women in all senior roles, including non-executive directors and directors, such as chief executive and operating officer. (The Guardian)


Report casts doubt on net-zero pledges by global companies

A report from the Net Zero Tracker, a climate pledge monitoring initiative, has found that more than a third of the world’s largest publicly traded companies now have net-zero targets. However, the report states that corporate climate targets fall short of what is needed to combat climate change, with “major credibility gaps” found among the world’s largest companies. Roughly half of the Forbes 2000 largest companies have yet to announce plans to reach net-zero. Of the 702 companies with a target, two-thirds haven’t made it clear how they plan to achieve that goal. Many companies also lacked interim emissions targets before 2050. The report also shows concern that carbon offsets feature prominently in corporate strategies, with nearly 40% of the scoped companies planning to use offsets. (Reuters; Business Green*)


Klarna’s CEO criticised for chaotic treatment of job cuts

Sacked staff have criticised the ‘buy now pay later’ firm Klarna for its “chaotic” handling of job cuts and questioned the chief executive’s decision to publicise a list of fired staff. UK employees affected by the cuts said they felt “blindsided” by the firm’s announcement when its co-founder revealed it would be cutting more than 700 of its 7,000-plus global staff, including some hired just weeks earlier. Klarna blamed cuts on a predicted drop in consumer spending, sparked by surging inflation and fears over an economic recession linked to the war in Ukraine. Klarna’s executive sparked further controversy by sharing a list of sacked employees on networking platform LinkedIn. More than 560 staff had voluntarily added their names to the list but commentators criticised Klarna’s chief executive’s move as “tone deaf”. (The Guardian)


Poor working conditions persist in Leicester garment factories

Research by the Garment & Textile Workers Trust has found that over half of Leicester garment workers are still operating in poor working conditions, paid below minimum wage and receiving no holiday or sick pay. The findings from the anonymous questionnaire follow almost two years on from revelations about poor standards in the UK city’s factories. The Garment and Textile Workers Trust, which is funded by online fast fashion retailer Boohoo, found that of the 116 workers that filled in the survey, 56% said they were receiving below minimum wage, 49% said they were not receiving sick pay and 55% were not receiving holiday pay. The Garment and Textile Worker’s Trust has recommended priority areas to improve workers conditions including providing a single contact for workers to raise complaints. (Drapers)


Singapore introduces framework for sovereign green bond

Singapore has set out guidelines for its first sovereign green bond offering, laying the foundation for the nation’s first green bond to be issued in the coming months. The bond plans to tap markets for as much as US$25.4 billion by 2030. Beyond transport infrastructure projects, the city-state will also explore the use of green bonds for the financing of climate change adaptation, including coastal protection. According to Singapore’s second minister of finance, the framework is aligned with current principles of the International Capital Market Association and ASEAN green bond standards. Proceeds from the bond sales will be spent on areas including renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, clean transportation, sustainable water and wastewater management. (Eco-Business)

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