Top Stories

January 12, 2023


UAE to launch COP28 with oil boss tipped for leading position

The United Arab Emirates will launch its presidency of global climate talks with the head of its national oil company likely to be given the leading role. Sultan Al Jaber has served as climate envoy to the country, and is chief of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the world’s twelfth-largest oil company by production, and is hotly tipped to take on the pivotal role of president of the talks. The COP28 UN summit will take place on 30 November in Dubai. At the conference, nations will be expected to conduct a “global stocktake” assessing the current state of climate action and progress on fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement. Observers fear the UAE, as a major oil producer, will be reluctant to hold other governments to account. (The Guardian)


Lidl, Inditex, H&M paid suppliers less than production cost

Companies including Lidl, Inditex, H&M and Next have been accused of paying garment suppliers in Bangladesh during the pandemic less than the cost of production, leaving factories struggling to pay the country’s legal minimum wage. In a survey of 1,000 factories in the country producing clothes for UK retailers, 19% of Lidl’s suppliers made the claim, as did 11% of Inditex’s, 9% of H&M’s and 8% of Next’s. A majority of suppliers of these brands, including Tesco and Aldi, told researchers that two years after Covid-19, they were still being paid the same rate – despite soaring material and production costs. Almost half of Primark’s suppliers said they did not see an increase in payment rates. The research also found larger brands often delayed payments and cancelled orders. (The Guardian)


Oxford Uni & BMW join to drive sustainable development

The University of Oxford and the BMW Group have announced a joint research programme based at the ‘MINI Plant Oxford’, dedicated to supporting BMW’s efforts to deliver on the UN SDGs. The 2023 Plant Oxford Programme will bring together 15 Oxford SDG ‘Impact Lab Fellows’, who are all graduate students from across Oxford University, to work with the MINI Plant Oxford on projects designed to reduce the plant's impact on the environment, while also improving wellbeing for employees and across the local community. An Oxford spokesperson said the initiative will provide skills for the graduates and give the company a “fresh perspective. BMW Group said that it has already set CO2 reduction targets across the lifecycle of its vehicles, but added that the company is “constantly seeking” new ways to cut emissions. (Business Green)*


Judge rejects Tesla’s challenge to agency race bias lawsuit

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has seen its counter-suit against the California’s Civil Rights Department dismissed by a judge. The Department is suing Tesla over alleged race discrimination at its flagship assembly plant. It argues that Tesla’s Fremont, California plant is a racially segregated workplace where Black employees have been harassed and discriminated against over job assignments, discipline and pay. Tesla has denied wrongdoing and said the lawsuit is politically motivated. Judge Evelio Grillo denied Tesla’s motion to dismiss the case, saying its attack on the agency’s practices was not a defence against the discrimination claims. Tesla has not responded to requests for comment. Several lawsuits are pending in California courts that accuse Tesla of tolerating discrimination and sexual harassment at its factories. (Reuters)


Businesses disconnected to sustainability issues in APAC

The environmental and social problems that concern Asian businesses differ starkly from those that worry their consumers, a new study finds from advertising agency Dentsu and research firm Kantar. While consumers fret about local issues such as pollution and badly managed waste, businesses in the region worry more about broader systemic issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, labour rights and ocean plastic. According to the study, which surveyed 34,000 people across 35 countries, 98% of Asia-Pacific consumers are prepared to take action to live a more sustainable lifestyle. However, 58% say they find it challenging to tell which products are ethical and which are not. A lack of information and transparency on how sustainable brands are, combined with rising living costs, are also putting consumers off choosing greener options. (Eco-Business)

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