Top Stories

June 28, 2022


Credit Suisse found guilty in cocaine cash laundering case

Investment banking company Credit Suisse has been convicted by Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court for failing to prevent money-laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang. It is the country’s first criminal trial of one of its major banks and is seen as a test case for prosecutors taking a tougher line against the country’s banks A former employee was found guilty of money-laundering in the trial, which included testimony on murders and cash stuffed into suitcases. The judges looked at whether Credit Suisse and the former employee did enough to prevent the cocaine trafficking gang from laundering profits through the bank between 2004 and 2008. Credit Suisse said it would appeal against the conviction, denying it had committed any wrongdoing. (Reuters)


Denmark creates Europe’s highest corporate carbon tax

Danish lawmakers have agreed on a corporate carbon tax, the highest in Europe, which will target companies inside and outside the EU’s carbon quota system. A high carbon tax is seen as crucial to help reach Denmark’s ambitious 2030 target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% from 1990 levels. The total CO2 levy will be 1,125 Danish crowns ($159) per tonne by 2030 for companies subject to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), consisting of a 375 crowns ($53) fee on top of the projected 2030 price of ETS carbon permits of 750 crowns ($106). Companies within mineralogical processes, such as cement maker Aalborg Portland, Denmark’s largest CO2 emitter, will pay a reduced price of 125 crowns ($18) per tonne on top of the ETS price to prevent an exodus of production. (Reuters)


Mars to host large-scale rapid coral restoration project

FMCG giant Mars is to host a major coral reef restoration event in Indonesia in 2023, targeting the creation of 5km2 of reef restoration within four days. The company has already funded what is thought to be the world’s largest coral reef restoration scheme, through its Mars Petcare brand Sheba in partnership with environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy. The Indonesian ‘Hope Reef’ project has seen coral cover increasing from less than 2% to 70% within two years. Learnings from this scheme will inform the 2023 event, called ‘The Big Build’, held in the same region. It will see the building of 5km2 of reef using ‘reef stars’ technology – star-shaped steel structures that can be linked together to create a ‘web’ to attach corals to. The Big Build project aims to attach 75,000 corals. (edie)


Malaysia’s $30bn fund will not divest from carbon-emitters

Malaysia’s $30 billion sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional has ruled out divesting from state companies that are dependent on fossil fuels, despite setting tough sustainability targets. Khazanah acknowledged that big holdings in the national airline and power company would present a challenge to its efforts to achieve net-zero emissions across its portfolio in aggregate by 2050. However, the fund said it would not sell out of investments on environmental grounds, and will instead aim to influence management rather than divesting over failure to meet targets. Khazanah, whose chair is the Malaysian prime minister, has long had a strict mandate to support the country’s economy. Large investors are facing growing scepticism about how much they are really doing to support the transition away from fossil fuels. (Financial Times)*


Artificial intelligence found to perpetuate racist and sexist prejudice

A robot running an artificial intelligence model has been found to carry out actions that perpetuate racist and sexist stereotypes, highlighting the issues that exist when tech learns from data sets with inherent biases. The work, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology is believed to be the first to show that robots loaded with an accepted and widely used model operate with significant gender and racial biases. Those building artificial intelligence models to recognise humans and objects often turn to vast datasets available for free on the internet. This infuses algorithms which may contain inaccurate and overtly biased datasets. To prevent future machines from adopting and re-enacting human stereotypes, the team said systematic changes to research and business practices are needed. (New Scientist)*

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