Top Stories

July 21, 2022


Rio Tinto to pay $613m to settle Australian tax office dispute

Mining company Rio Tinto has agreed to pay the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) an additional $613 million to settle disputes over its financing arrangements and marketing hubs in Singapore. The payment is on top of $378 million Rio Tinto had previously paid over the same dispute, bringing the total to almost $1 billion in extra tax revenue. Tax arrangements for the next five years were also locked in as part of the deal. Starting in 2017, the ATO hit Rio Tinto with a series of large tax bills over its marketing hub in Singapore, which sells iron ore and aluminium on behalf of the group. The bills date back to 2010. Similar hubs are used by BHP and other miners, but their use became controversial following a crackdown on multinational corporations by ATO. (The Guardian)


Wellcome Trust sells stakes in large oil and mining companies

The Wellcome Trust, one of the UK’s biggest philanthropic investors, has quietly sold its stakes in large oil and mining companies such as BP and Shell. The Trust is one of the biggest funders of scientific research in the UK with a £38 billion investment fund. For almost a decade it has rejected criticism from organisations arguing profits from fossil fuel companies were incompatible with the Trust’s objective of improving public health and wellbeing. In a leaked internal memo, the Trust said its divestment decision – which also includes miners BHP and Rio Tinto – was made to insulate the investment fund from financial fluctuations. The organisation said it preferred shareholder activism over divestment and had met regularly with BP and Shell to pressure them to invest in clean energy sources. (The Guardian)


OS-Climate releases open-source climate tools for companies

Non-profit open-source platform OS-Climate has launched the first in a series of free tools to drive climate-friendly decision-making. As a project of the Linux Foundation, OS-Climate aims to help fill the gaps in data currently preventing capital flowing to climate-positive projects. The platform’s CEO said the aim of the tools is to generate “refined data and actionable insights needed for pension funds, asset manager and banks” to support alignment of their investments and loans to net-zero. The ‘Physical Risk & Resilience’ tool will allow non-financial stakeholders to assess the climate resilience of assets using its models. The ‘Climate Portfolio Alignment’ tool will support stakeholders in aligning their investments against a 1.5°C warming scenario. Lastly, the ‘Transitional Analysis’ tool will help companies model, test and conduct scenario analysis to help inform strategic decision making. (Reuters)


Amazon launches $20,000 green grant for sustainable retailers

E-commerce giant Amazon has this week launched a new grant programme for ecologically-minded small businesses and retailers in the US. Dubbed ‘Products for Tomorrow’, the new initiative is offering grants worth up to $20,000 for brands and businesses with "innovative products that were created with sustainability in mind". Amazon will offer successful applicants both cash grants and a place on the Amazon ‘Launchpad’ programme, which the company claims has been designed to help new brands and businesses overcome challenges associated with entering a new market. In addition, the programme will offer successful applicants’ guidance and assistance on how to secure sustainability certifications for their products. Amazon said it currently offers over 300,000 certified sustainability products as part of its ‘Climate Pledge Friendly’ programme in the US. (Business Green)*


President Biden resists calls to declare climate change emergency

US President Joe Biden has stated that climate change is an emergency but stopped short of a formal declaration, announcing a modest package of executive actions and promising more aggressive efforts. Biden made the comments during a historic heatwave across Europe and the US with some 100 million Americans set to be under heat warnings. Biden announced new funding for cooling centres and pushing for new offshore wind projects. Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists want Biden to formally declare a climate emergency, which would enable the use of the ‘Defense Production Act’ to ramp up renewable energy products and systems production. However, Biden has faced increasing setbacks including opposition on key climate provisions from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, and failure to pass climate and clean energy measures in a federal budget bill. (Reuters)

*Subscription required







Would you love to work in sustainability, supporting big brands in their responsible business journeys? Click here to see info on our current openings. We can't wait to hear from you



Actions for Business 2022

B4SI Annual Review 2021