Top Stories

July 07, 2022


Amazon to share more data with rivals after EU antitrust deal

E-commerce giant Amazon will share more data with rivals and offer buyers a wider choice of products, as part of a deal with EU antitrust regulators. Details of the deal are being shared with Amazon’s rivals to make sure that they would remove competition concerns before the European Commission can announce an agreement. As part of the deal, Amazon will allow third-party sellers on its marketplace to access more information that can help them sell more products online. It comes three years after antitrust officials opened a probe into Amazon’s alleged anti-competitive practices in how it handles data from competitors. Investigators suspected that Amazon was breaking EU law by using market sensitive information to favour its own retail business artificially at the expense of rivals. (Financial Times)*


Ben & Jerry's sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

Ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s announced it has sued its parent Unilever to block the sale of its Israeli business to a local licensee, saying Unilever’s decision to resume sales was inconsistent with its values to sell its products in the occupied West Bank. The complaint states the sale threatens to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, which Ben & Jerry’s Board retained independence to protect when Unilever acquired the company in 2000. The complaint states an injunction against transferring the business and related trademarks to Avi Zinger, who runs American Quality Products, was essential to “protect the brand and social integrity”. In 2021, Ben & Jerry’s said it would end sales in the occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade relationship with Zinger. (Reuters)


Tesco suppliers polluting River Wye with excess phosphorous

Environmental campaigners are calling for urgent action from UK supermarket Tesco to immediately raise standards within its poultry and egg suppliers in the Wye valley, as they say the river is at risk of ecological collapse. Tesco is the largest customer of the main egg and poultry producers in the area. Campaigners say it holds the key to saving the river from irreparable ecological deterioration caused by high phosphate levels from excrement produced by intensive chicken farming. The Wye valley has become one of Europe’s largest concentrations of intensive livestock production with more than 20 million birds housed within permitted intensive poultry units alone. Water quality throughout the catchment continues to fail current standards due to excessive phosphate concentrations, which campaigners say could soon result in ecological death of the river. (The Guardian)


EU awards ‘green’ finance label for gas & nuclear investments

The European Parliament has voted in favour of plans to award a green investment label to nuclear and gas projects, amid major protest from green activists who denounced the labelling. A motion to veto the European Commission’s proposal to include nuclear and gas in the EU’s ‘sustainable finance taxonomy’ was defeated by 328 votes to 278. Before it passes into law, the proposal to include nuclear and gas labels must also face a vote in the EU Council of Ministers representing the EU’s 27 member states, although veto thresholds make a rejection unlikely. Critics warn the labels will embed European dependence on Russian gas. Others welcomed the move, with French MEP Pascal Canfin stressing that gas can only be awarded a green finance label in the context of replacing coal. (edie)


Freelancer contracts come under renewed scrutiny by HMRC

Contracts between freelance workers and their employers will come under renewed scrutiny by UK tax office HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) after Sky Sports commentator Alan Parry lost an appeal against a £356,000 tax bill. The football commentator contested an HMRC claim that the contracts held between his limited company, Alan Parry Productions Limited, and BSkyB over the five years to April 2019 amounted to an employment relationship, rather than self-employment. Under IR35 rules, a set of tax laws which govern off-payroll workers, if a contractor is deemed to be a “disguised employee” for tax purposes, rather than genuinely self-employed, they are liable for income tax and national insurance contributions. Professional services experts said the judgment would act as a warning to those with comparable arrangements. (Financial Times)*


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