Top Stories

October 10, 2022


Companies lack targets for employee mental health, study shows

Only three companies out of 20 have published objectives for employee mental health management, a study from British charity investment manager CCLA has found. CCLA’s new investor benchmark, which assessed 100 of the world’s largest listed firms, showed a disconnect between their recognition of workers’ mental health as an important business issue and formalised public commitments and disclosure. Deloitte, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, reported in 2020 that mental ill-health in the workplace cost companies on average £1,652 per private sector employee each year. CCLA noted, against a backdrop of surging inflation and an unfolding cost-of-living crisis across the world, that 82% of corporates had taken a clear stance on the relationship between good mental health and fair pay and financial well-being. (Reuters)


UK government funding awards to save 300,000 tonnes of CO2

The UK government has awarded just under £14 million to a series of projects aimed to harness digital technologies to enhance the efficiency and productivity of key manufacturing processes. The latest round of funding awards from the Sustainable Smart Factory Competition are expected to create 1,000 jobs across the UK and save 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 65,000 cars off the roads. Overall, 12 projects are to share £13.7m in funding. Recipients include food manufacturer Rakusen which will deploy AI to reduce its energy consumption by 60%. 3D printer designer Photocentric will use technology to upscale 3D printed products using recycled materials. Other projects include ‘WasteMap’ from Topolytics which will use machine learning to develop a map of reusable manufacturing products that can be extracted from waste systems. (Business Green)*


Octopus Energy launches new energy-savings incentive for customers

Energy provider Octopus Energy has become the latest energy company to launch a new incentive scheme for customers that aims to reduce pressure on the grid at peak times. Dubbed ‘Savings Sessions’, the scheme will allow Octopus’ 1.4 million smart meter customers and around 5,000 of its business customers to secure incentive payments if they reduce their usage during times of peak demand. The scheme reflects similar plans unveiled by rival Ovo Energy which also hopes to encourage customers to reduce energy demand during periods of grid pressure. Octopus said its scheme expects to pay customers £4 on average for each ‘saving session’, with customers able to save around £100 over the course of the winter. Octopus said it had already successfully trialled the scheme in February 2022. (Business Green)*


Austria launches challenge against EU taxonomy over gas & nuclear

The challenge to an EU system labelling gas and nuclear as “green” investments has gained momentum with a lawsuit filed by Austria against the European Commission. The Commission is already facing two separate legal challenges from environmental groups — one from Greenpeace and one from a coalition including Client Earth and the WWF — over the classification of the fuels as sustainable for investment purposes. Austria’s complaint stipulates that nuclear and gas energy do not fulfil the requirements of the taxonomy because green technologies must not cause significant environmental or climate-related harm. It argues that certifying gas as green could delay Europe’s transition to clean energy by encouraging further investment in fossil fuel. Brussels has said that criteria for gas and nuclear investments must meet strict criteria to be awarded a ‘green’ classification. (Financial Times)*


Amazon to invest €1 billion in European electric van, truck fleet

E-commerce giant Amazon said it will invest more than €1 billion over the next five years in electric vans, trucks and low-emission package hubs across Europe, accelerating its net-zero drive. The company said the investment was also aimed at spurring innovation across the transportation industry and encouraging more public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Amazon said its investment would help its electric van fleet in Europe more than triple from 3,000 vehicles to more than 10,000 by 2025. It also said it hopes to purchase more than 1,500 electric heavy goods vehicles – used for middle-mile shipments to package hubs – in the coming years. Amazon’s electric van order will be serviced by Rivian. The company said alongside its EV investment, it will invest in thousands of chargers at facilities across Europe. (Reuters)

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