Top Stories

November 15, 2022


Google to pay $391m in its biggest data privacy settlement

Technology giant Google has agreed to a $391 million settlement with 40 US states over its collection of users’ location data, the most it has ever paid out over a privacy complaint. The settlement followed allegations from the states that Google had continued to collect location data through a number of its mobile apps, even after users had opted to stop having their whereabouts recorded. According to the allegations, Google offered separate settings to control location data, with the result that after users turned off their ‘location history’, a separate setting called ‘Web and App Activity’ collected the data by default. A Google spokesperson said: “Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation, which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.” (Financial Times)*


Retailers accelerate shift to forest-friendly fibres at COP27

Retailers including H&M, Kering, and Inditex, will purchase over half a million tonnes of low-carbon alternative fibres for clothing and packaging to help reduce global emissions. The announcement by 33 brands, printers and producers at COP27 confirms the purchase of 550,000 tonnes of alternative fibres – made from waste textiles and agricultural residues instead of forest fibres. Every tonne of clothing produced using these alternative fibres will save between 4 and 15 tonnes of carbon per tonne of product, according to NGO Canopy, which convened the group. Over 3.2 billion trees are cut down each year to produce fibre for packaging and clothing. Moving to low-carbon alternatives could help the industry to avoid almost a giga-tonne of CO2 emissions between now and 2030, Canopy added. (Reuters)


KFC says a third of hires will be disadvantaged youth by 2030

Fast food chain KFC says that by 2030, a third of all its new hires in the UK will be young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The chain predicts the move will help about 6,000 people get their first job. KFC said the programme, developed with the charity UK Youth, is intended to help tackle unemployment among young people. The scheme, which will involve training and practical work experience, is targeted at people aged between 16 and 24 who have faced barriers to employment because of social, economic, domestic or mental health challenges. However, some have said the initiative can go further to offer ongoing training to workers, especially to those who may not have finished their education. (BBC News)


Global corporations costing governments $316bn in tax abuse

Governments globally could reap $89 billion in additional annual tax if they made public their data on the extent to which multinational companies use tax havens, according to a report. Published by advocacy group Tax Justice Network (TJN), the report calls for the introduction of mandatory country-by-country reporting that would require multinationals to provide transparent information on profit shifting. Some individual companies have voluntarily made their country-by-country reports public, and the TJN calculates that governments could recoup 28% of the $316 billion lost in cross-border “tax abuse” in 2021 if a loss of anonymity shone a light on the activities of all multinationals. The UK’s legislated country-by-country reporting initiative was abandoned in 2020, costing the UK an estimated £27 billion to multinational corporations underpaying tax. (The Guardian)


Methane emissions from 15 meat & dairy companies rival EU

The combined methane emissions of 15 of the world’s largest meat and dairy companies are higher than several of the world’s largest countries, according to a study. The analysis from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Changing Markets Foundation found that emissions by 5 meat and 10 dairy corporations account for more than 80% of the EU’s entire methane footprint and 11.1% of the world’s livestock-related methane emissions. Their combined methane emissions outpace those of oil companies such as ExxonMobil, BP and Shell. Researchers singled out individual livestock companies such as JBS, the world’s largest meat company, and dairy giant Danone. The world’s second-largest meat company, Tyson, produces approximately as much livestock methane as Russia. Results were estimated based on publicly available data on meat and milk production and regional livestock practices. (The Guardian)

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