Top Stories

October 12, 2022


ECB: Gender-diverse banks lend less to most polluting firms

European banks with a high share of female directors are less likely to lend to high-polluting firms, according to a study by the European Central Bank (ECB). The ECB study said that Euro area banks with female directors occupying at least 37% of the boardroom seats provided 10% less lending volume to ‘browner’ firms. The study defined ‘browner’ firms as those with GHG pollution intensity in the top quarter of all companies. The report said there is an inverse relationship between bank lending and firms’ pollution intensity for boards with gender-diverse boards. The authors said their results remain "robust" even after controlling for the fact that more socially responsible banks may tend to hire more women to their boards or that female directors are more likely to choose to work for socially responsible financial firms. (Environmental Finance)*


German union calls on Amazon workers to strike during sale

German trade union Verdi called on workers at nine Amazon distribution centres across Germany to go on strike during the company's second major sales event of 2022. The call to action aims to pressure Amazon into a collective bargaining agreement. The union said the strikes would begin and end at different times at the various locations to make it hard for the company to react. Amazon’s two-day “Prime Early Access Sale” shopping event is much like the Prime Day marketing blitz. The union said that while Amazon had raised wages, they fell well below of current inflation ranging from 3% to 7% across the different locations. Amazon said it did not foresee impact on its customers due to the strikes. (Reuters)


Net-zero by 2050: aviation sector reaches global agreement

Following two weeks of negotiations between 184 nations, an international agreement to bring the aviation sector’s emissions to net-zero by 2050 has been struck. The agreement on the so-called ‘long-term aspirational goal’ was reached in Montreal at a meeting of members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The goal applies to airport operations, domestic and international flights – despite nations including Russia and China having pushed for more lenient targets. As the ICAO is not a regulator, it has no legal powers to hold nations or businesses to account for failing to meet the commitments. It is up to nations to interpret how they will deliver against its international commitments. The ICAO said all national aviation sectors will need to use offsetting to reach the goal. (edie)


Uber and Lyft shares slump on US ‘gig’ economy labour plan

Shares in some of the world’s largest gig economy companies have dropped after the US government outlined plans to change the way workers are contracted. Under the US Labor Department’s proposal, workers would be more likely to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors. Shares in Uber and Lyft fell by more than 10% on the news. US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said the rule would aim to stop companies from misclassifying workers as independent contractors. He added that misclassification “deprives workers of their federal labour protections, including their right to be paid their full, legally earned wages”. Gig workers are paid for individual tasks, such as a food delivery or a car journey, rather than getting a regular wage. (BBC News)


Coal-fired power plants in Texas bypassing pollution controls

The Biden administration is letting eight Texas coal-fired power plants avoid pollution controls by sitting on a request to amend the State’s plans for pollution reduction, according to a new lawsuit. The Sierra Club and Environmental Integrity Project sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), claiming the agency’s inaction is allowing the power plants to bypass controls for particulate matter emission for hundreds or thousands of hours a year of operation during shutdown, start-up and maintenance procedures. The groups are aiming to force the EPA to decide on a 2020 request submitted by Texas to amend its implementation of the ‘National Ambient Air Quality Standards’. By failing to approve or reject the request, the groups say the EPA is systematically letting the coal plants operate under unsanctioned and less protective standards. (Reuters)

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