Top Stories

November 24, 2022


UN agrees on proposed global tax rules resolution

Developing nations could have a greater say over global tax rules after winning a diplomatic tussle at the United Nations (UN) in New York. A new resolution, agreed by UN members, gives the body a mandate to kickstart intergovernmental talks on tax. The policy area has long been dominated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The resolution, presented by the African Group, ultimately paves the way for a UN convention on taxation and a new global tax body, according to campaigners. Campaigners want international agreement on measures such as a floor for corporate tax rates, so countries cannot undercut one another, forcing multinationals to report how much tax they pay each country. As well as new tax rules, the talks could also determine reforms to existing tax policy. (The Guardian)


Vodafone & WWF launch smartphone collection scheme

Telecommunications company Vodafone and conservation NGO WWF have unveiled a partnership to improve the circularity, collection and recycling of smartphones. The new “one million phones for the planet” launch ties together Vodafone’s circularity and net-zero ambitions. Vodafone’s customers in Europe and Africa will be incentivised and educated to trade in old mobile devices to be repaired, refurbished or recycled. Every phone collected during the programme will see £1, or the local equivalent, donated by Vodafone to WWF conservation projects globally. Vodafone states that a refurbished smartphone saves around 50kg of CO2e compared to newly manufactured versions and removes the need to extract 76.9 kg of raw materials. The new initiative builds towards Vodafone’s target to reuse, resell or recycle 100% of its network waste. (edie)


US government allows ESG investing by retirement plans

President Joe Biden’s administration has reversed restrictions on retirement plans considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when selecting investments. The rule will make it easier for retirement plans to invest in socially responsible funds and companies, though it requires investment decisions to be based on traditional financial factors. The rule, which the department said covers plans that collectively invest $12 trillion, takes effect 60 days after it is formally published. The Labor Department said the Trump-era rules, which had been criticised by business groups, failed to account for the positive impact that ESG considerations can have on long-term investment returns. The new rule also allows plan fiduciaries to consider ESG factors when proxy voting on behalf of shareholders. (Reuters)


Fresh fruit and veg prescribed to low-income families in UK

Fresh fruit and vegetables are being given out on prescription to low-income families in a trial public health scheme aimed at tackling the growth of poverty-related hunger and health inequalities in the UK. About 120 people with chronic disease and mental health conditions living in two of the UK’s poorest neighbourhoods are receiving weekly vouchers to spend on fresh groceries as part of a £250,000 nine-month project. The vouchers, worth up to £8 a week with an additional £2 for each child in the household, are being given to participants identified by NHS-funded social prescribing staff in two projects. The scheme began amid an increase in food insecurity and evidence that soaring grocery costs were stopping people from buying healthy food, causing a “nutritional recession” in low-income families. (The Guardian)


Amazon adds e-carbo bikes, walkers to decarbonise

E-commerce giant Amazon said it would expand its electric-cargo bike fleet and make more deliveries on foot to accelerate the decarbonisation of its transportation network. The group, which has 75,000 permanent UK employees, said it would add two small delivery hubs in London and open one in Manchester for the extra bikes and walkers, as part of a £300 million investment in electrification and decarbonisation. Amazon is targeting net-zero carbon by 2040 and estimates that extra e-cargo bikes and walkers would carry 2 million deliveries a year. In 2021, Amazon delivered more than 45 million packages using its electric fleet. As well as the electric bikes, it already has 1,000 electric delivery vans and five fully electric heavy goods vehicles in its fleet. (Reuters)












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