Top Stories

January 26, 2023


UK banks under pressure for financing fossil fuel expansion

UK high street banks have come under fire for continued fossil fuel expansion finance from a new celebrity-led campaign that urges customers to switch providers. Campaign group Make My Money Matter has published an open letter to the chief executives of HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest, and Lloyds asking them to terminate financing fossil fuel expansion. The campaign is run by filmmaker Richard Curtis and has been signed by businesses, activists, and charities including Just Stop Oil, Greenpeace UK, Save the Children UK and Ecotricity. The campaign also saw support from celebrities including Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. It comes as 29% of banking customers surveyed in a separate campaign said they would switch banks if they discovered their provider was financing fossil fuel expansion. (Business Green)*


BP sponsorship of Royal Opera House ends after 33 years

Campaigners have hailed a “seismic shift” in arts funding after the Royal Opera House confirmed it had severed its sponsorship relationship with oil and gas giant BP after more than three decades. The multinational has been a sponsor of the Opera House since 1988. However, in a statement the opera house said there had been an “agreement” that the funding would not be renewed. A spokesperson said: “We are grateful to BP for their sponsorship over 33 years which has enabled thousands around the country to see free opera and ballet”. The decision will put further pressure on the British Museum, which is now one of the last major arts institutions still receiving funding from the energy firm. The Science Museum has also maintained its Shell and Adani sponsorships. (The Guardian)


Honda announces new dedicated electric vehicle division

Japanese auto conglomerate Honda has announced it is creating a new dedicated electric vehicle (EV) division to help drive efforts to reach carbon-neutral status by 2050. The new division, called ‘Electrification Business Development Operations’ aims to consolidate the company’s electrification strategy across its automobile, motorcycle and power products divisions. The company said it will also be consolidating its regional operations from six locations down to three. The new regional operations will be based in North America, China, and a third operation known as Associated Regions, which will combine four current regional operations. Honda said the change would help “strengthen operations for each region based on its global strategy”. It also said it plans to invest $40 billion in its EV business and related software over the next 10 years. (Business Green)*


UK pension schemes search out forestry investment plans

Two UK pension schemes, Nest and Cushion, with combined assets of over £26 billion, are in a joint search for asset management partners to develop new forestry investment strategies. Both pension schemes believe that allocating money to forestry projects will offset environmentally damaging emissions from other investments and deliver attractive returns. The schemes have set aside an initial £600 million for a joint investment mandate and aim to secure lower fees with third-party managers. Nest expects to invest some 2% of its assets into forestry and other natural capital projects. Cushion anticipates that it could grow its allocation to natural capital strategies up to 5% of its assets over time, including carbon credits. Both schemes say they will avoid forestry projects where logging contributes to deforestation. (Financial Times)*


Canada: childcare cost cuts increase female labour participation

More women have joined the Canadian workforce recently, helping to offset labour shortages, with one driver being the government’s cut to child-care costs, the Bank of Canada has said. The bank said the annual growth of the labour force had shrunk to about 0.9% over the 2020-2022 period from 1.4% in 2017-2019 because of an ageing population and the interruption of immigration flows in 2020. “The recent rise in the participation of prime-age Canadians, especially women, has somewhat offset the effect of ageing” it said, noting the participation rate for prime-age women was at a near record high 84.9% with a noticeable increase for women with young children. The Canadian government introduced a multi-billion-dollar programme in 2022 to cut the costs of childcare and encourage more women to work. (Reuters)

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Corporate Citizenship Briefing has been published for over 30 years, making it the longest running daily news and analysis service in the responsible business sector. We've issued a daily news update by email since 2006. Over that time, we've often adjusted the format as technology has changed and the needs of practitioners have shifted. However, our mission has remained the same: to provide practitioners, companies and enthusiasts alike with key insights into the big issues facing corporate responsibility and sustainability. Now another shift is coming. We are moving away from reporting on a daily basis to focusing on analysing and interpreting the big trends in responsible and sustainable business on a monthly basis. The final Corporate Citizenship Daily Briefing will be published on Tuesday 31st January 2023. Thank you for being part of our journey.