Top Stories

July 20, 2022


Amazon handed £1m UK tax credit as profits reach £204m

E-commerce giant Amazon’s UK division was handed a tax credit of over £1 million in 2021 by tax office HM Revenue and Customs despite profits soaring by almost 60% to £204 million. The tax benefit was part of €1 billion (£850 million) in tax credits provided to Amazon by European governments. Amazon’s losses across Europe skyrocketed by 90% to €2.1 billion before the tax benefit, despite sales rising by nearly 16% to €51 billion. Public accounts reveal that Amazon UK Services grew revenues to £6.09 billion. However, it booked a rebate on corporation tax and benefitted from the government’s “super-deduction” scheme for businesses that invest in infrastructure. Amazon received a rebate on its prior year tax payment worth £18.3 million in 2020, with nothing to pay in 2021. (The Guardian)


Investors plan Just Transition label for investment products

Investors Scottish Widows, Schroders, Railpen, Nest and the Environment Agency Pension Fund are amongst the founding participants of a £3.6 trillion coalition seeking to develop a ‘Just Transition’ label for investment products. Launched at the Finance for Impact Summit by the Impact Investing Institute, the ‘Just Transition Finance Challenge’ brings together public and private asset owners, asset managers, development finance institutions and advisers who are committed to financing a Just Transition. The group plans to release a draft of a common set of criteria that will underpin a new label for public and private asset owners and asset managers, which will be open to public consultation. The label will be designed to recognise products that deliver climate and environmental action, socioeconomic equity and distribution and community voice. (Responsible Investor)*


UK people of colour 4 times more ‘at risk’ from heatwaves

A study has found that people of colour are 4 times more likely than white people to live in areas at high risk from heatwaves in the UK as the climate heats up. Researchers found 1 in 3 people from minority ethnic groups lived in areas most exposed to extreme heat, compared with just 1 in 12 white people. Overall, almost 6 million people were found to live in neighbourhoods at risk from high temperatures, with Black and Brown people disproportionately represented. The average proportion of people of colour in high-risk neighbourhoods was 28%, compared with a national average of 9.5%. The top 5 local authorities with the most “at risk” neighbourhoods were Birmingham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Nottingham – all among the UK’s most ethnically diverse areas. (The Guardian)


IKEA injects $25 million into climate-friendly air conditioning

Furniture retail company IKEA’s charitable arm is to funnel $25 million into a global programme aimed at advancing climate-friendly air conditioning systems to support vulnerable communities. The IKEA Foundation said it would invest the money over the next four years into the ‘Clean Cooling Collaborative’, a campaign dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cooling technologies such as air conditioners by advancing the development of lower-carbon and more efficient solutions. Efforts include: reducing the need for mechanical cooling through improved building design and urban planning, optimising mechanical cooling technologies to be more efficient, climate-friendly and grid-friendly, and increasing access to cooling for people at risk from the threats of extreme heat. Recent European heatwaves have accelerated air conditioning demand, fuelling concerns that increased demand will increase energy demand and greenhouse gases. (Business Green)*


New Vatican policy orders foreign investment accounts closed

The Vatican has issued an overarching investments policy to ensure its finances are ‘ethical’, green, low-risk and avoid weapons industries or health sectors involved in abortion, contraception or embryonic stem cells. The guidelines order Vatican departments to close their investment accounts or stock holdings in foreign banks, including in Italy, and transfer them to the Vatican Bank, to be overseen by the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. The Investment Policy Statement (IPS), a radical overhaul after years of financial scandals, strips all Vatican departments of the ability to invest their funds independently. The IPS claims to prioritise investments that “contribute to a more just and sustainable world”. It bans investments in funds associated with pornography, gambling, weapons industries, pro-abortion health centres or pharmaceutical companies that make contraceptive products. (Reuters)


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