Top Stories

October 14, 2022


Royal Mail threatens 10,000 jobs over strike action

UK postal service Royal Mail said it may cut up to 10,000 roles by August 2023, blaming strike action by its workers and the continuing decline of its core business. In an unscheduled trading update a day after Royal Mail workers staged a 24-hour strike over pay and conditions, the company said thousands of roles would have to go because of damage and disruption caused by industrial action, as well as declining parcel volumes. Royal Mail said it expects to see an operating loss of £350 million in the year to the end of March 2023. The Communication Workers Union said the announcement is a result of “gross mismanagement and a failed business agenda”, adding that it holds postal workers to ransom for “taking legal industrial action”. (BBC News)


Total accused of being complicit in Russian war crimes

Petroleum company TotalEnergies is the target of a criminal complaint accusing the company of complicity in war crimes for allegedly helping the Russian military in its invasion of Ukraine. A complaint filed by NGO Darwin Climax Coalitions, and Ukraine’s Razom We Stand alleged that a Siberian gasfield part-owned by Total supplied feedstock for jet fuel suspected to have been used by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. The complaint is an attempt to test the legal responsibility of western companies with investments in Russia regarding Moscow’s war against Kyiv. Total denied wrongdoing. The complaint builds on allegations from Global Witness alleging that gas from a field controlled by Total was processed by Novatek – which Total owns a minority stake – then sold to a factory linked to Russia’s military. (Financial Times)*


EU border agency accused of serious rights violations in leaked report

A classified EU report on border and coast guard agency Frontex details serious allegations of cover-ups of human rights violations in EU member states by the agency and its staff. The report, more than 120 pages long, is the result of a months-long investigation with a score of witness interviews by Olaf, the EU anti-fraud agency. The report details how Frontex staff or assets witnessed or concealed knowledge of pushbacks of asylum seekers from Greek territory. The document also describes how Frontex staff expressed concern about “repercussions” from local authorities for reporting violations. Athens strenuously denies such practices and maintains it strictly adheres to international law. Frontex said in a statement its “actions in the Aegean Sea region had been carried out in compliance with the applicable legal framework”. (The Guardian)


FMCG giants signal demand for 800k tonnes of recycled plastics

Consumer goods firms including Danone, Unilever, Mars and PepsiCo have stated that they will collectively be looking to purchase 800,000 tonnes of chemically recycled packaging materials in 2030. The figure is being presented to investors, suppliers and regulators by the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) ‘Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste’. Signing the letter are Amcor, Barilla, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Ferrero, Haleon, Henkel, Mars, McCain, Mondelez, PepsiCo and Unilever. The figure is designed to send a signal to waste management firms as the availability of chemically recycled plastic is low at present. The FMCG sector has stated that new ways of recycling plastics will need to be scaled rapidly for it to deliver on its commitments to increasing recycled content. (edie)


Four in five cities facing ‘significant’ climate risks in 2022

Four in five cities globally have faced at least one ‘significant’ climate hazard, such as heatwaves or flooding, in 2022, according to data released by CDP. The non-profit published its latest analysis of the climate risks facing cities which disclose through its platform, alongside information on how the cities are planning to boost adaptation. Responses from 998 cities are included. Four in five of the cities disclosing through CDP said they had seen climate risks crystallising in 2022 or are confident that this will happen before the year is out. The report reflects on droughts in China, Italy, Spain and Portugal and floods in cities including Seoul and Karachi and wildfires near Athens. Overall, 46% of cities experienced extreme heat in 2022, 35% declared drought and 33% experienced urban flooding. (edie)

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