Top Stories

January 18, 2023


Pfizer to offer medicines to 1.2bn people on not-for-profit basis

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced a major expansion of its initiative to provide medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis in lower-income countries, to now include its full portfolio of approximately 500 products. Launched in 2022, the programme ‘An Accord for a Healthier World’ initially included a commitment to reach 1.2 billion people in 45-lower income countries with all its patented medicines and vaccines. The initiative has facilitated the delivery of nine medicines and vaccines for the treatment of certain cancers, and infectious and inflammatory diseases in Rwanda, with advanced conversations underway with 16 countries. Pfizer will expand the programme to now include off-patent products, significantly increasing the scope from 23 products to around 500 medicines and vaccines. Treatments now include chemotherapies and oral cancer medications and a range of antibiotics. (ESG Today)


Workers’ rights agency denies backing new UK strike legislation

The head of the UN’s agency for workers’ rights has denied claims it backs the UK’s tough new strike laws. It comes after UK ministers repeatedly suggested the International Labor Organisation (ILO) supported government plans to enforce “minimum service levels” during public sector strikes. The laws are meant to minimise the impact of walkouts, but unions have called them “undemocratic, unworkable and illegal”. The US labour secretary Marty Walsh said minimum service agreements for public sector workers may be detrimental to workers. The UK’s Strikes Bill will give the government power to unilaterally assert levels of service provision from striking workers in certain sectors and could lead to workers losing their jobs or unions being sued. The move follows a wave of industrial action by frontline public sector workers. (BBC News)


Philippines unveils wealth fund for food security and clean energy

The Philippine finance secretary has presented plans to leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish a sovereign wealth fund for agriculture, clean energy, digitalisation, and climate change. The secretary said the finance facility called the ‘Maharlika Investment Fund’ (MIF) will “support the goals” set by the government under its economic and social transformation plan to reinvigorate job creation and accelerate poverty reduction. In 2022, lawmakers pushed for the MIF in a bid to accrue profits from government assets. The bill has faced criticism borne out of the country’s growing debt and a lack of surplus money. Earlier iterations of the proposed fund relied on state pensions, which critics said were irresponsible. Observers also highlighted a lack of safeguards in the proposed fund. (Eco-Business)


Tesco works with suppliers to increase sustainable fava bean yields

The fava bean could soon see its UK production triple following a successful trial by supermarket Tesco that sought to explore the environmental benefits associated with the legume. Tesco announced that it is now looking to work with UK suppliers to boost production. The supermarket said studies have shown the beans are able to thrive in UK soils without the need for additional chemical-based fertilisers – an advantage that results in both emissions and cost savings at the same time. The beans can also be used to promote healthy soils as they help repair the soil they are grown in, leading to increased soil fertility and organic content which help boost yields and lock in carbon. Tesco added the bean can be used as an alternative for deforestation-linked soy proteins. (Business Green)*


Uber commissions 25,000 EVs through partnership with Hertz

Technology company Uber has confirmed an expansion of its partnership with car-sharing, rental firm Hertz that will see up to 25,000 electric cars added to its network across Europe by 2025. The two companies have already collaborated in the North American market to make electric vehicles (EVs) accessible to Uber drivers there. The partnership has provided some 24 million fully electric trips, covering 260 million miles. Of the 25,000 EVs which Herts will make available, more than 10,000 will be allocated to London. Cars will also be expected to reach Paris and Amsterdam later in 2023 with additional European capitals to be included “in due course”. Hertz vehicles on offer will include Tesla and Polestar models. (edie)

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