Deforestation-free supply chain
McDonald’s and L’Oréal are shifting to deforestation-free commodity supply chains alongside six other companies who make up a newly-expanded supply chain platform of CDP, the environmental data body.
Thomson Reuters has released 'Global 100 Greenhouse Gas Performance: New Pathways for Growth and Leadership', a report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the world’s 100 largest publicly traded emitters.
UN Environment goes motor racing
Motor racing and protection of the environment are seldom placed in the same sentence, but UN Environment is backing the all-electric Formula E series in a global partnership to improve inner-city air quality by promoting alternative energy solutions and electric vehicles.
Global investors press G7 to stand by Paris
Investors with USD17tr AUM are pressing the G7 to stand by Paris Agreement with push for rapid implementation.
Astellas grant funds second fistula target
Pharmaceutical company Astellas has pledged its continued support to the Fistula Foundation as Action on Fistula launches the second phase to treat 4,500 women with obstetric fistula in Kenya by 2020.
ESG considerations gain momentum
FTSE Russell has released Smart beta: 2017 global survey findings from asset owners, the fourth annual survey of global institutional asset owners’ adoption and evaluation of smart beta indexing.
Time tells on bullish fossil fuel predictions
Campaigning group ClientEarth has written to fossil fuel companies and their investors pointing out the potential legal issues with statements regarding future fossil fuel demand in their reporting.
Consumers willing to pay for supporting a cause
A study on brand awareness has found that 40 per cent of consumers are completely abandoning brands that don’t make a positive impact on society.
Americans will boycott bad corporates
Three-quarters (76 per cent) of American consumers would be willing to boycott a product if they believe that the company producing it was operating in way that was against their principles.
Marks & Spencer extends food scheme
Marks & Spencer has announced that its nationwide food redistribution scheme will now include chilled food such as meat, dairy items, poultry and ready meals.
The skilled, homeless, unemployed now (SHUN) generation faces too many barriers to gaining employability skills and social mobility, and Carillion has launched its ‘Breaking Down a Million Barriers’ campaign to help level these impediments.
Coca-Cola Great Britain is ramping up its investment in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar as Nielsen data shows sales in grocery and convenience stores are up 52 per cent, and sales of no sugar Coca-Cola equal to the traditional recipe.
Bloomberg launches health drive
Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed USD5 million in seed grants to support participating cities in developing and implementing policies to address NCDs and injuries.
LEGO builds to fully renewable energy three years early
With investment in two offshore wind farms, the LEGO Group has reached a point where 100 per cent of the energy it uses is either from, or balanced by producing, energy from renewable sources.
UK renewables break record
The UK has reported its best quarter for renewable energy use, with wind, solar, biomass and hydro all registering record levels of generation.
Software supplier Blackbaud has announced a product that will map outcomes to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), allowing organisations to report the impact of their grant making across the 17 goals and related targets.
Wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H) has partnered with the UK charity Missing People, displaying appeals of missing children and adults on the sides of its vans as they make daily deliveries.
Sustainability a source of investment returns
WHEB Asset Management has published a report that measures the positive social and environmental impacts of its sustainability fund as well as its financial return.
Microsoft partners UN Human Rights Office
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has announced a five-year partnership with Microsoft to provide a support grant of USD5 million.
AIM-listed renewable energy company Good Energy has launched a second corporate bond, after the success for the first bond that was launched in 2013.
BMO dumps fossil investments
BMO Global Asset Management is dropping £20m of shares from its range of responsible funds, and additionally excluding companies with fossil fuel reserves.
British Gas employees train as “Dementia Friends”
During Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May) British Gas has announced that over 10,000 employees have now received bespoke training to help support customers with dementia.
Tesco commits to renewable electricity
Tesco is joining the RE100 initiative, pledging to use only renewable electricity by 2030 and becoming a low-carbon business.
Congratulations to the winners, and all those shortlisted, at last night’s Better Society Awards. As corporates and companies strive to create a better place, whether through community action, innovation or commerce, the fruits of these efforts have been recognised.
Brewin Dolphin supports young Scots
Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin is partnering with the Winning Scotland Foundation, helping young people in Scotland achieve their potential through education, training and employment.
Improving money management
A UK-wide competition focussed on improving money management in the local community has been created to help encourage young adults to create innovative social action projects.
The average person in Britain makes 15 decisions on autopilot a day according to a Marks & Spencer funded study, with ninety-six per cent of people admitting to making choices with really thinking about them.
Unilever shares waste technology
With hundreds of billions of plastic sachets going to waste each year around the world, Unilever has created the technology to recycle these items, turning them into new sachets for Unilever products and creating a full circular economy approach.
Tonight the winners for 2017 will be announced, and tomorrow we will be able to list these. So until then we wish all the entrants in this outstanding year the best, and again note that even making the shortlist is a celebration of the work being done to help create a fairer and better society.
The World Circular Economy Forum 2017 is being hosted in Finland, the first country with a comprehensive road map to a circular economy.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has responded to the report on Corporate Governance from the House of Commons BEIS Committee, in particular proposing measures to curb excessive executive pay.
Hospitality organisation Whitbread is now using renewable sources to power all of UK operations.
London Matters 2017 reveals challenges remain
The London Market Group (LMG) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have launched London Matters 2017, a review of London’s position in the global insurance industry between 2013 and 2015. The report reveals that diversity continues to remain a challenge, and although the proportion of female staff is in line with the UK average at 41 per cent, the proportion of female executive directors is at only 5 per cent, in comparison to the FTSE 100 average of 21 per cent.
MAPFRE aligns policies with responsible social action
Madrid-based insurer MAPFRE has joined the global network of signatories to the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) aligning its long-standing commitment to social and environmental sustainability to its investment policy.
ShareAction urges rejection of BP’s and Shell’s rewards
ShareAction is asking investors to vote down BP’s and Shell’s remuneration policies at their AGMs, accusing the compensation frameworks of being ‘misaligned with the interests of long-term shareholders’.
Swimwear brand Speedo has launched a global initiative to reduce accidental drownings worldwide. The Swim Generation initiative supports life-saving projects around the world and has enabled partner organisations to reach over 600,000 people so far.
Aberdeen AM aims to engage
Young people living in Aberdeen are being offered urban sports and culture programmes, helped by a four figure boost from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation.
LGPS funds silent on climate risk
More than 80 per cent of Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds make no reference to climate risk in their investment strategies, according to analysis by ClientEarth and ShareAction.
Hoare recognised by City Philanthropy
Alexander Hoare of C Hoare & Co, the oldest privately owned bank in the UK, has been recognised with a 2017 Beacon Award for City Philanthropy.
Kempen appoints director for impact and responsible investment
Kempen Capital Management has appointed Narina Mnatsakanian as its new Director Impact and Responsible Investment, to help strengthen ESG progress within the company.
10 million employed with renewable energy
Over 9.4 million people are employed globally in the renewable energy sector according to a report from Allen & York, a specialist recruitment consultancy.
UKSIF launches fiduciary guide
The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) has launched a guide to help pension and charity fund trustees understand their fiduciary duties in light of the latest legal and regulatory thinking.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Lloyds Banking Group is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May) with hundreds volunteering hours at Mental Health UK Service Centres.
Co-op looks for a local focus
Co-op is launching a GBP10m campaign focusing on the benefits of sourcing from British local farmers as part of its desire to support local communities and create long-term benefits.
Swiss funds urged to test climate alignment
Swiss pension funds and insurance companies are being given an opportunity to participate in a modelling programme to gauge their alignment to the sustainability target of keeping climate temperature changes below 2 degrees, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
UK looks to remove greenhouses gas
Despite concerns over the UK potential commitments following Brexit, the Government has announced a funding programme for research into methods of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Half of Fortune 500 has a carbon target
Nearly half of the constituent companies in the US Fortune 500 now have a carbon reduction programme to decrease their environmental impact and increase their energy efficiency.
UKSIF has published a guide for DB pension fund trustees on their fiduciary duties, highlighting the fact that the Pensions Regulator now requires trustees to consider ESG where it is financially material.
Aviva survey reveals slow but growing diversity
Aviva Investors has released results of its third biennial survey of global asset managers regarding ESG issues. The survey polled 39 asset managers with combined assets of over £4 trillion, revealing that corporate diversity is taken increasingly seriously.
Triodos launches Current Account
The first UK personal current account from Triodos Bank is being introduced in response to growing consumer demand for banking products that demonstrate a positive impact on society.
PRI ESG engagements advisory committee
David Sheasby, Head of Governance and Sustainability at investment manager Martin Currie, has been appointed to the ESG Engagements Advisory Committee, part of the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment). The PRI was launched in April 2006 and has grown to over 1,600 signatories. The ESG committee’s objectives are to provide direction and leadership on the PRI’s collaborative engagements agenda, and to set priorities for present and future engagement initiatives.
On 16 March charities and corporates came together to share their experiences of creating world-class partnerships. The speakers helped bring their knowledge of success, and some difficulties, to the audience. The following is a short distillation of this hugely informative event.
Integration of ESG significantly improves returns
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) has released the results of a global survey of 475 institutions, revealing that 68 per cent of respondents believe that the integration of an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy has significantly improved returns.
Impax Asset Management, an investment manager focused on environmental and related markets has published an updated report on Smart Carbon model portfolios.
Tesco raises GBP40 million
Tesco has announced that more than GBP40 million has been raised for Cancer Research UK over their 16 year partnership.
300 businesses call for environmental buildings policy
A coalition of 300 businesses and organisations in Europe, including cities, public authorities, property developers, manufacturers and energy utilities, as well as trade associations, NGOs and universities - is asking for clear targets, milestones and measures on transforming existing stock to environmentally friendly buildings.
Corporate demand drives energy credits
The rise in recent announcements from corporate organisations pledging to reach environmental targets will inevitably lead to an increasing demand for renewable energy certificates (RECs).
AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has announces that it will be divesting its portfolios of companies that derive more than 50 per cent of their revenues from coal-related activities.
Ford is trailing plug-in hybrid vans (PHEV) in London. For a year 20 Ford Transit PHEVs will be in use by Transport for London, the Metropolitan police, Clancy Plant, Addison Lee and British Gas.
Amundi creates green bond for emerging markets
Amundi and IFC have agreed to create a USD2bn green bond fund dedicated to emerging markets.
Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report with an outline to improve environment performance on a number of levels and help make the technology company a leader in low impact manufacturing
Earth Day 2017 is on Saturday 22 April, with an expected 1 billion participants across the globe and a theme of environmental and climate literacy.
Walmart aims to cut a gigatonne
Walmart is helping its suppliers reduce greenhouse gas with a sustainability toolkit with the objective of reducing emissions by a gigatonne – the equivalent of removing 200 cars from the roads.
The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has been sold to Macquarie Bank, valuing it at over GBP2billion. Set up by the UK Government as a method to fund green investment in projects, it was also intended to be privatised.
Green bond issuance up 42%
The market for green bonds has experience 42 per cent growth in the first year’s first quarter, with over USD20 billion issuance, following on from an already successful performance in the last quarter.
Nest renews proxy voting firm
The National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) has renewed a contract with a proxy voting firm to continue its commitment to responsible stewardship.
What is ESG? A ratings agency definition
Whilst there has been considerable interest building in the concept of ESG investments, it has also been a difficult term to describe in detail. ESG generally describes a company that is conducting its business responsibly and attempting to reduce or offset negative impacts.
AMP Capital introduces new ethical framework
AMP Capital is introducing a new decision-making framework allowing it to exclude companies or sectors on ethical grounds across our entire portfolio. The framework introduces a concept of degrees of ‘harm’ or ‘denial of humanity’ and considers conventions that prohibit or control the use of a company’s products.
ESG’s influence on credit
Hermes Investment Management’s credit and stewardship teams have published a paper on pricing ESG risks in credit markets examining the relationship between a company’s Quantitative ESG (QESG) Score and credit default swaps (CDS).
Kames publishes first sustainability report
Investment management company Kames has had a longstanding commitment to sustainability, and has now placed all its activities in a single report, considering its operations, diversity and engagement.
Hertz launches offset programme
Hertz Corporation has launched a new carbon offset programme that provides corporate customers with the ability to purchase of carbon offsets for their vehicles.
Lidl and NSPCC announce new partnership
Supermarket Lidl UK and NSPCC have announced a new partnership that help the charity to reach one million primary school children with crucial advice on how to stay safe from abuse.
Letter expresses environmental concerns
Eleven environmentally related organisations have sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister warning the Government of the perils of reducing climate change and environmental commitments.
The recent UK weather has created ideal conditions for renewable energy, with photovoltaic and wind power enjoying the prolonged sunshine followed by high winds.
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has appointed of Christine Bosse as its newest Board member.
Most businesses eco-friendly, but….
Over two-thirds (69 per cent) of business owners consider measures to make offices eco-friendly, with an even higher 4 in 5 (82 per cent) assessing the energy efficiency of equipment when purchasing it.
According to Icelandic news source MBL, retailer IKEA is building workers housing in Reykjavik to ensure that its staff can rent accommodation at an affordable price.
Why whistleblowing matters
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley, faces the loss of his bonus after regulators have questioned his conduct in a whistleblowing case.
Greenpeace has installed a 2.5 tonne plastic sculpture in front of Coca-Cola’s London headquarters in order to highlight ocean plastic pollution.
Virgin Trains to partner with Rethink Mental Illness
Virgin Trains on the west coast and Rethink Mental Illness are partnering to raise awareness of mental health issues and offer support to employees and communities across the country. In addition, Virgin Trains staff will also be raising money with a programme of activities around its stations.
Nisa takes many small steps for social impact
Retailer Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally (MADL) programme is looking to raise greater awareness, and expand the positive impact it has on communities across the UK with two new engagement tools.
Advertises called on to help the oceans
The 71st President of the United Nations General Assembly, HE Peter Thomson, has called upon the American Association of Advertising Agencies to help protect the oceans. At the Association’s ReSolve conference he urged participants: “If we are to ensure a bountiful planet for ourselves and future generations, the time for action is upon us.”
The new mandatory gender pay gap reporting requirements come into force today (6 April). This will require all UK employers with over 250 staff to report on the mean and median male and female salaries.
AXA Investment Managers has produced a survey of 122 insurance company CIOs in France, Germany and the UK, showing that 35 per cent of insurers are now taking responsible investment (RI) or ESG criteria into consideration when making asset allocation decisions.
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) is keeping the pressure up on executive pay, revealing that in 2016 the organisation has voted against 118 pay resolutions in the UK and against 14 per cent of companies on just pay alone.
ASOS shows mixed fortunes
Fashion retailer ASOS has announced that sales have increased by 38 per cent in the six months to February 2017 and £27.3 million in pre-tax profits, but according to the Reputation Institute, having had one of the best reputations on the high-street fashion industry in 2016, it seen its reputation tumble in 2017 due to work practices
The European Environment Agency’s new report 'Renewable Energy in Europe 2017: recent growth and knock-on effects' reveals that the EU is on track to meet its target of sourcing 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020, having now reached a 17 per cent threshold.
Tesla worth more than Ford
The market value of Elon Musk’s carmaker has now overtaken that of Ford following encouraging first quarter results.
Missing climate goals puts €14 billion at risk
Fourteen European utilities companies are set to exceed carbon targets by 1.3 billion tonnes, and will put €14 billion of earnings at risk.
1 billion in payroll giving
Payroll giving has donated more than £1.3 billion over the 30 years it has been in operation, and currently more than 220,000 people in the UK make a regular contributions through the CAF Give As You Earn scheme – the largest such scheme in the UK.
LSE lists first Gulf green bond
The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has become the first green bond issuer from the Gulf region. The five year dated green bond has raised $587 million and NBAD will use the proceeds to invest in projects that protect the climate and natural resources.
Marks & Spencer is commissioning the RSPCA to audit all dairy farms in its direct supply chain. Director of Food Andy Adcock confirmed that all 40 UK farms will be audited to RSPCA Assured Standards as soon as possible.
Hammerson goes net positive
Real estate firm Hammerson has become the first in its sector to launch a full ‘net positive’ strategy covering both environmental and socio-economic impacts. Being delivered through its existing Positive Places sustainability platform, the company has set targets across four key areas with the aim of having a major impact across its portfolio by 2030.
Pensions Regulator puts ESG centre stage
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) produced new guidance for trustees of defined-benefit pension schemes saying they need to consider ESG factors where they have a financial impact.
Nature and climate in the EU
MEPs, NGOs, EU institutions and specialists are meeting at the European Parliament to discuss the adoption of rights of nature in European law and policy.
The McGregor-Smith Review of race in the workplace has been published, calling for employers to start ‘making the most of talent’ irrespective of background.
InBev commits to a renewable future
Brewer AB InBev to become the largest corporate purchaser of renewable electricity in the consumer goods sector. Announcing a commitment to secure 100 per cent of the company’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025, the action will also reduce the company’s operational carbon footprint by 30 per cent.
Crown Estate joins Circular Economy
The Crown Estate has joined the Circular Economy 100 (CE100) programme, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in a three-year partnership to embed the principles of the circular economy across the business and its activities.
The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) has released its biennial investment review disclosing that sustainable investment assets reached USD22.89 trillion globally by the start of 2016, a 25 per cent increase from 2014.
SC Johnson empowers Rwanda
Consumer chemicals producer SC Johnson has been supporting developing for some time, by providing sustainable business models to raise the standard of living, but has now announced that it will launch a pilot programme of information and affordable mosquito repellents.
Eliminating carbon emissions is possible
Findings released today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) show that energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be cut by 70 per cent by 2050 and completely eradicated by 2060 – and with a positive economic benefit.
ENGIE releases second green bond
Responsible energy company ENGIE has issued its second green bond of €1.5 billion. The bond has two tranches: a seven-year tranche of €700 million, and an 11-year tranche of €800 million, with the proceeds of the bond to be used to finance renewable energy projects such as wind and solar farms, hydroelectric plants, energy efficiency projects and natural resources preservation projects.
Tata helps STEM shortfall
The UK currently has an estimated 40,000 shortfall in STEM graduates, with the government’s spring Budget recognising the need to boost technology talent. As a result Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has created the STEM Family Challenges partnership.
BT powers renewably ahead
Figures researched by Gocompare.com Energy show that 95 per cent of BT’s energy output is powered by renewable sources. This places BT at the top of clean energy use, with Apple taking second place with 92 per cent.
The LEGO Group is using Batman to engage children with environmental and social issues, launching a digital campaign with a video starring Batman (Will Arnett) and his butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), discussing a range of social, environmental and playful learning activities around the world.
The importance of corporate governance
Brands such as Dyson, Aston Martin and Lego have topped the rankings for reputation among the UK general public, in a year that corporate governance – and the perceptions of fairness, ethics and transparency – have had a significant impact on company reputation.
Going green cut energy costs by 75 per cent
Space Station, a London-based storage company has successfully reduced its energy bill by 75 per cent through a £550,000 investment, and demonstrates the immediate financial advantages of green technology, as well as its ecological impact.
Electrolux presents progress
The Electrolux Group has released its latest Sustainability Report, showing progress during 2016 with the growing use of recycled plastics, reduced carbon emissions from operations and investments in local communities.
Smarter resources can add two trillion to economy
Smarter use of natural resources could result in annual economic benefits of USD2 trillion by 2050, new research by the United Nations Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel has predicted.
Buildbase partners Raleigh
Builders’ merchants Buildbase and equipment rental company Hirebase have announced a new partnership with Raleigh International for extensive programmes in Tanzania.
Benchmark to improve human rights
A public ranking of corporate human rights performance has been revealed, with the aim of driving companies to adopt strong human rights policies.
The Ethisphere Institute, the US-based ethical benchmarker, has announced its 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies list, containing 124 companies across five continents and 19 countries.
Marks & Spencer and Ruby Wax have created the Frazzled Cafe in M&S stores, with fortnightly ‘talk-in’ sessions where the ‘frazzled’ will be able to talk and share their stories in a non-judgmental environment.
Barclays Employability Programme announces first partnership
Barclays Connect with Work programme has announced that selected Gibbs Hybrid Workforce Solutions as its first corporate partner.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) has started issuing bonds linking returns to companies that advance Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality, health and sustainable infrastructure.
Tesco launches food waste hotline
Supermarket retailer Tesco has launched an online food waste hotline providing suppliers and growers with information on inefficient links in the supply chain so that they, and Tesco, can tackle the issues.
Carmaker Ford has now claimed an eight successive place earned a place on the annual Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, with the listing reflecting Ford’s use of PACE (Partnership for A Cleaner Environment) in reducing waste, carbon dioxide and air emissions.
New charitable foundation to fight modern slavery
The Penningtons Manches Charitable Foundation has been launched to bring focus to the law firm’s charitable giving and pro bono work, with the foundation prioritising a core project each year- the first being human trafficking and modern slavery.
Costa has announced two initiatives to improve the environment, from opposite ends of the coffee process, and quite literally from the beans to the cup.
Jaguar Land Rover switches on renewables
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has signed a new agreement with EDF Energy to buy 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources.
M&S adds DisabledGo guides
Marks & Spencer is adding DisabledGo access guides to its stores, becoming the first retailer to do so. The guides contain detailed information on its stores’ accessibility - from lighting levels, to the number of accessible car parking spaces and the provision of hearing loops – and are available to customers on the M&S.com store locator.
FTSE Russell reports that it has seen a growing demand for ESG data, and to reinforce the point it has revealed that KPMG AZSA Sustainability has purchased the data model in Japan.
Research from SolarPower Europe shows that annual global solar installations grew by around 50 per cent to an all-time record number of 76.2 GW in 2016, with China leading Asia's market share to over 66 per cent in 2016, and US demand for new solar capacity was more than twice as large as in Europe.
A significant majority of the US population are convinced that climate change is real (70 per cent) and only 12 per cent do not believe it, according to a widespread survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Apple has opened up its Apple Pay to UK charities, making donations both easier and more secure. After successfully launching the scheme to non-profits in the US, Apple is rolling out the service to 21 UK charities including The British Heart Foundation, ActionAid UK, British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, and DEC.
For International Women’s Day, here is a quick reminder of how the make-up of UK boardrooms is changing. The figures are from the end of last year, and provided by (and available from) BoardWatch, with data provided by BoardEx on 29 October 2016.
There are a lot of campaigns around International Women’s Day, covering many different issues, and sectors. So to choose one to highlight is difficult.
Better Society Awards shortlist announced
We are delighted to reveal the 2017 Better Society Awards shortlist. In all cases the standard has been very high, and on behalf of the selection panel we would like to congratulate those shortlisted, and reassure those not, that it is not because of a lack of quality.
Standard Life and Aberdeen
The proposed merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen asset Management would create a major global organisation with £660bn of funds under management. The merger is unlikely to be opposed, but it potentially will create an interesting problem of integration regarding the companies’ respective ESG policies.
New energy taxis in Beijing
Beijing is proposing removal of all petrol-and diesel-powered taxis and replacing them with either electric or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) powered cars.
Co-op helps UK victims of modern slavery
A new scheme designed to help integrate victims of modern slavery in the UK by the Co-op. The company seek to help integration back into the community by providing jobs and raising awareness of modern slavery with its four million members.
Allianz joins Tourism Cares
Allianz Global Assistance has joined Tourism Cares, the US-based charitable arm of the travel and tourism industry.
Lego has approved the production of a set of female NASA icons of the space programme, in part as role-models for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Lloyds Banking Group updates targets
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has launched its revised Helping Britain Prosper Plan for 2017, outlining its ongoing commitment to wider society.
Facebook uses AI for suicide risk
With one death every 40 seconds by suicide Facebook is aiming to help prevent instances by connecting a person in distress with support. Some suicide prevention tools have been available on Facebook over 10 years, but new tools and an enhanced programme of detection have now been boosted by the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The Government has been clear that the long-term future of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is to be in private hands, and to that end it has selected Australian company Macquarie as it preferred purchaser. However that decision is now being challenged in the High Court.
TAAP launches food service
Software company TAAP has implemented a food donation application which enables retailers to donate surplus food to charities. The Food Donation Service solution integrates with a retailer’s stock, price and waste services to digitally track and trace what is being donated.
Societe Generale and Mind
Financial services group Societe Generale has raised over £750,000 for its Charity of the Year partner Mind, the mental health charity.
Fairtrade grows as tastes change
Fairtrade has reported that sales of its ethical products have grown, the first such rise since 2013. Bananas and coffee have experienced significant growth, offsetting lower sales of products such as cocoa and sugar.
ESG, the frontier of business
Our environmental, social and corporate governance benchmarking survey – please help. Better Society, Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Opinium are conducting a survey into attitudes on ESG matter from UK companies, the survey can be filled in anonymously or registered for a free copy of the resulting research.
Coca-Cola GB has endorsed proposals to place a deposit on its bottles that would be refunded on their returns. In a move that is reminiscent of the Corona drinks of the past, the scheme could see a huge rise in recycling.
Sage Foundation launches non-profits fund
Accounting software company Sage has launched its Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund with USD1m to fund non-profits from the UK. The fund will deliver support to non-profits with enterprising ideas to aid military veterans, young people or women and girls in the local community.
Gender discrimination in flexible working
A year ago the Government published its paper on pay and equality, placing a major emphasis on part-time and flexible working. A year on the research it referenced from Plymouth University has developed and expanded the understanding of some of the issues.
Minister muddles terms, but aims to close earnings gap
The Women and Equalities Committee has raised concerns that the Governments stated aim of reducing the earnings gap in a generation will fail unless more action is taken.
DWP seeks businesses to champion disability
The Office for Disability Issues is seeking business people to champion accessibility of products and services for disabled people.
Well Pharmacy and the Stroke Association
Well Pharmacy and the Stroke Association have created a partnership to help lower the risk stroke by providing blood pressure checks within local communities, and Well providing advice and services in order to help reduce the number of people at risk of stroke.
Employer attitudes crucial for disabled
Disability and mental health issues are still major barriers to gaining employment, despite campaigns to address these issues.
Children make you more environmentally responsible
Becoming a parent has a direct relationship to how environmentally friendly you are. A survey, conducted on behalf of Gocompare.com Energy, found that parents are 5 per cent more likely to recycle than adults without children are and more likely (40 opposed to 34 per cent) to favour local produce.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has announced a fundamental review of the UK Corporate Governance Code, taking on board its work on corporate culture and succession planning, and the Government’s Green Paper and the BEIS Select Committee inquiry.
Neighbourly Food signs up Lidl
Supermarket chain Lidl has joined retailers such as Marks & Spencer in donating food surplus to local charities, with Lidl’s food surplus donations alone will being equate to 2 million meals a year.
The future of responsible media
The Responsible Media Forum has released a new report into the fast-moving media sector, considering the social and environmental challenges it faces. Based on insights generated from desk research, interviews, and conference exercises, the report identifies the biggest corporate responsibility challenges facing media companies over the next ten years.
Morgan Stanley joins NSPCC
Morgan Stanley has announced a two year partnership with children’s charity NSPCC after a vote by its employees. This partnership aims to raise half a million, which will then be matched by the Morgan Stanley International Foundation, to create a total of one million.
Social impact organisations need governance
Responding to the Government’s consultation on corporate reform, the Work and Pensions Committee has proposed that private companies that have a social impact should carry the same corporate governance and reporting requirements as public listed companies.
Lloyds wins ESA Excellence Award
Lloyds Bank has won recognition with its second win of the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) Excellence Award for Community Sponsorship and high commendation for Employee Engagement for its principal partnership of BBC Children in Need.
The London Stock Exchange Group has issued guidance on good practice in ESG reporting. The organisation’s Global Sustainable Investment Centre has set out a guide in response to demand from investors for a consistent approach as ESG concerns become a mainstream issue with investors.
A number of companies have pooled their resources to sponsor two doctors in an attempt to row 3,600 miles across the Indian Ocean for Médecins Sans Frontières.
Food and drink’s environmental performance improving
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has unveiled its annual progress report, comparing its performance against its Five-Fold Environmental Ambition (FEA) and Ambition 2025, the FDF’s latest sustainability commitments.
Morrisons and CLIC Sargent have entered into a partnership, with the retailers on target to provide 7m of funding to the children and young people’s cancer support charity.
Reducing the stigma of mental health
This is Me - in the City, a London mental health campaign led by the Lord Mayor’s Appeal in partnership with Barclays, Business Healthy, City Mental Health Alliance, Mind and City AM, has launched its 2017 programme.
The City of London Corporation is sponsoring the Social Mobility Employers’ Index, a new initiative from the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission - which ranks Britain’s top businesses on how open they are to accessing talent from all backgrounds.
IKEA launches recycled kitchen
IKEA has launched a range of kitchen units made from recycled plastic and wood, using twenty-five half-litre PET-bottles to create a plastic foil which coats the reclaimed wood kitchen fronts, creating a sustainable kitchen.
Fortune 500 companies in the US have seen a small increase in representation on boards from women and minorities, but an Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) study has revealed that 70 per cent of seats are held by Caucasian/white men.
Warner Leisure partners Macmillan
Warner Leisure Hotels hopes to raise over half a million pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support over a three year period.
Ethical funds opened to charities
Two major providers of ethical funds have opened them to investment from charities via the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), putting £100m onto the provider’s digital platform.
Renewables to depose fossil fuels
The recent report from Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London outlines a future where the declining costs of solar photovoltaics (PV) and electric vehicle (EV) technologies will depose fossil fuels.
IICF raises diversity of leadership
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) UK held a fundraising conference entitled Leading Across Generations, raising £20,000 for local charities that support education and social mobility.
The Aviva Community Fund invites a round of applications each year for local community projects, and this year’s winners have produced a hat-trick of wins for Cheshire commercial insurance broker Risk Services (NW) who nominated Children Today, Deafness Support Network and the National Communities Resource Centre.
Holding boards to account
Standard Life Investments (SLI) is issuing a report of its global engagement and voting activities during 2016, and the organisation’s views on some of the developments and issues in the area.
Environment Agency funds charitable recoveries
The Environment Agency has collected fines totalling over a million from a number of transgressing companies and will be donating these to relevant environmental charities.
Santander employees raise a million
Santander employees have now raised more than £1.1 million for charity partners Age UK and Barnardo’s over 2016, with a variety of activities This follows a staff vote where the two charities were chosen as partners for the period 2016 – 2018, with the bank aiming to raise £3 million over the three-year period.
Starbucks' refugee pledge
Howard Schultz, outgoing CEO of Starbucks, has written an open letter to the company’s employees that pledges the company to helping refugees.
Green Digital Finance Alliance formed
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ant Financial Services Group, a Chinese online and mobile financial services company, have launched the Green Digital Finance Alliance, a new global initiative to help harness digital technologies for sustainable finance.
Pharmaceutical company Astellas has announced that Action on Fistula, its flagship international programme, has now helped 2,164 Kenyan women with obstetric fistula by giving them life changing reconstructive surgery.
City coffee cup recycling
The Corporation of the City of London and the major coffee chains have created a recycling partnership to help reduce the number of coffee cups going to landfill. Currently up to 7m coffee cups are discarded every day.
Step on Board announces 100th placement
Trustees Unlimited and charities umbrella body the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), have announced the 100th placement of a trustee via the Step on Board programme.
BP has published its annual Energy Outlook, which sees the move from fossil fuels to sustainable energy in the Western world being outpaced by the growth in demand from Asia.
Sodexo’s supply chain gains recognition
Sodexo has retained the position as one of the most sustainable companies by receiving the gold distinction in RobecoSAM's annual Sustainability Yearbook. Sodexo has so far managed to be in the top rank for ten consecutive years, and reflects the company’s long-term mission of contributing to the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries where it operates.
Lloyd’s Register (LR), the engineering and business services organisation, has provided funding for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation of £29 million for the 2015/16 financial year, and grants awarded were £34.6 million (compared to £12.7 million in the previous year).
Coffee chain Caffè Nero’s staff have made a very clear statement of support for St Mungo’s homelessness charity by committing to its Woolly Hat Day.
Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has announced the return of its flagship youth enterprise competition, the Real Business Challenge. Now in its thirteenth year the event, which forms part of the organisation’s national education programme, is expecting over 1,000 schools to enter.
Sky unveils its environmental campaign
Sky has launched a new environmental campaign called Sky Ocean Rescue, initially led by Sky News, which will help educate and inspire people to help protect our oceans and reduce plastic waste within them.
Ford works with TfL on hybrids
Ford Motors and Transport for London (TFL) are working in partnership on a government backed project to improve the city air quality with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vans. In addition, selected London businesses will trial plug-in hybrid vans that can run solely on electric power for the majority of city trips.
Sub-Saharan supply chain boost
A major public-private initiative is creating a sustainable global food supply chain, with foundations in an innovative insurance project that ensures funding for smallholder farmers and protection against crop loss.
Better Society Awards deadline extension
The Better Society Awards are just around the corner, and several organisations have requested a bit of leeway in their nominations – and we are now extending the deadline to 13 Feb, so there is time to get your nominations in and still be ready for Valentine’s Day.
P&G (Procter & Gamble) has partnered UNESCO and Save the Children to help women and girls who have suffered as a result of the Syrian crisis through education and skill development.
DP World joins disaster relief team
DP World will provide pro bono expertise and resources to help respond to major disasters. In a move that recalls children’s programme Thunderbirds, DP World joins other logistics and transport companies to form the Logistics Emergency Teams (LET).
The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action report has been launched at Davos by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The report also presents a proposed pathway to increasing global recycling rates for plastic packaging from just 14 per cent today to 70 per cent.
Communications company Edelman has released its 2017 Trust Barometer, showing the largest single drop in public trust across institutions. Trust in media (at 43 per cent) fell dramatically and is at a low in 17 countries, while trust in government (at 41 per cent) dropped in 14 markets and is the least trusted institution in half of the 28 countries surveyed.
Business awareness of cleaner air
City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funding arm, has awarded a grant to ClientEarth to expand its legal work on improving London’s air quality.
IKEA UK sustainability gains
IKEA UK has just released its sustainability report for the last year demonstrating the company’s commitment to progress on energy use and waste in particular.
Workplaces ‘stifling’ fathers
The 2017 Modern Families Index, an annual social review, paints a picture of fathers wanting to take a more active part in childcare against workplaces that are failing to provide flexible solutions and support these aspirations.
Unilever calls for fully recyclable plastic
Unilever has called on the fast-moving consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards the circular economy as it has pledged to ensure that all of its own plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Unilever calls for fully recyclable plastic
Unilever has called on the fast-moving consumer goods industry to accelerate progress towards the circular economy as it has pledged to ensure that all of its own plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Lloyds pioneers mental health and money advice service
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has announced a new two year partnership with Mental Health UK to promote awareness of the link between mental health and money problems, and raise £2million per year in offices and branches across the UK.
Volunteering makes you more attractive
Volunteering gives job-seekers an advantage over other candidates, with a new Oxfam study showing 80 per cent of employers are more likely to hire an applicant with volunteering experience.
In the US, Volkswagen (VW) has pleaded guilty to criminal charges, with the results that it is set to pay fines of over USD 4bn (£3.5bn).
GIIN appoints liaison in Tanzania
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the scale and effectiveness of impact investing around the world, has announced the appointment of Ashley Elliot as Global Liaison for East Africa. Mr. Elliot will work out of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to help the GIIN build strategic partnerships, promote impact investing and support GIIN members across the region. Mr. Elliot becomes the GIIN’s fourth global liaison, highlighting the GIIN’s growing global presence and support for the international impact investing community.
Better Society would like you to help complete a survey of current attitudes to ESG.The survey is independent of any vendor and the results anonymous.
Record year for Nisa’s charity
Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity saw a record year of generosity in 2016, donating the largest total amount over a year since its formation in 2008. 2016 saw over £1.4m donated to charities and good causes throughout the UK, with almost 2,000 donations made to community groups, charities, schools, sports clubs and more.
Lloyds Bank Foundation applauds measures on mental health
Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales, has welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement of a package of measures to transform mental health support in schools, workplaces and communities. He gave his support saying that, ““For more than 30 years, Lloyds Bank Foundation has supported specialist local charities helping people from the most disadvantaged communities manage mental ill health. We currently provide grants to more than 120 such charities across England and Wales, an investment totalling almost £4.8m (as of Q4 2016), and are in the process of making a number of new grants already this year.
UK Employees of FedEx Express have donated over 1,000 hours to charity and fundraising activities in aid of Action for Children over the course of 2016.
Support of good causes helps the recruitment race
One in four people say they would be more inclined to apply for jobs with firms that have a strong track record of supporting charities, according to new research.
Solicitors across the Country raise money for Children’s Charity
A leading network of law firms has raised a total of over £25,000 in 2016 alone for children’s charity Barnardo’s.
Vital Energi works with Natural History Museum to Save £11m
The Natural History Museum has successfully achieved £11 million in energy savings and reduced carbon emissions by over 15,000 tonnes during the past decade thanks to a trigeneration scheme in partnership with Vital Energi.
Aberdeen pledges to continue support in 2017
Financial firm Aberdeen Asset Management, through its Charitable Foundation, has aided charities throughout 2016, both in terms of grants as well as volunteering support from Aberdeen’s staff, and Lynda Affleck of Aberdeen’s Charitable Foundation has voiced the desire to continue this work in 2017.
A recent report by Lancaster University Management School has found that there a little linkage between executive pay and results. The research, supported by investment professionals body CFA UK, is based on an analysis of CEO pay structures and their alignment with corporate value creation for FTSE-350 companies over the period 2003-2014/15.
The future of corporate sustainability reporting
Corporate sustainability performance reporting have become a popular form of communicating an organisation’s stance on the environment, yet, as with many items on the responsible business agenda, questions remain about its real academic rigour and relevance to enhancing corporate competitiveness.
SAP ball raises money for children
SAP has managed to raise over £100,000 at a charity ball held in Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, with the proceeds going to charity partner Action for Children. The fundraising event marks the development of SAP and Action for Children’s relationship over the last two years, since partnering together to tackle issues affecting children, young people, their parents, and carers.
Payment services company Western Union Business Solutions is helping DEC with its appeal for the people of Yemen.
Conserving energy critical to meeting climate targets
National governments are promoting energy conservation programmes in order to meet emissions reduction targets.
IKEA partners with children’s charities
The IKEA Foundation, IKEA’s philanthropic arm, has partnered with Save the Children, War Child, UNICEF, Handicap International, Special Olympics and Room to Read to create safe and inclusive spaces for vulnerable children to play and develop.
Gates reaches for cleantech
Bill Gates is behind the launch of a USD1 billion fund investing in new forms of clean energy. Gates has gathered a group of like-minded investors to collaborate on the fund, called Breakthrough Energy Ventures including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Tesco tops UK risk ranking
Tesco plc has been placed in sixth place in the global RepRisk Sector Benchmarking Report, highlighting the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues related to the retail sector.
Fossil fuel divestment doubles
Commitments to fossil fuel divestment have doubled over the past 15 months to USD 5.197 trillion in assets.
Allianz Leben, the life insurance arm of Allianz, is ensuring the sustainability of its investments using an ESG scoring system.
Millennials see technology as a greater challenge than climate change
Millennials see the rapid rate of technological and digital change as the biggest challenge facing them as future business leaders.
Insurance Industry looks to leadership
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is holding a one-day conference on multigenerational leadership on 26 January 2017.
UN Global Goals in day-to-day work
A survey of 500 HR leaders reveals that commitment to the UN Global Goals is now important to 47 per cent of UK private sector businesses, forming part of business strategy in over a third.
GAME partners SpecialEffect
GAME Digital has announced that SpecialEffect, the gamers’ charity, will be its UK charity for the coming year. The charity was chosen, by staff, as having the best association with GAME.
Independent think-tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has produced a report on a broad range of UK business practices, attempting to find common ground and trends in differing types of operation.
Pay reporting legislation ‘flawed’
The recently revealed draft gender pay reporting rules that come into play in April 2018, mean that employers could be facing legal action should they fail to comply.
Amazon delivers Magic Breakfast
Amazon has become the latest supporter of charity Magic Breakfast in a move which will provide over 700,000 healthy breakfasts to over 3,800 children in 57 schools around the UK.
ICAP holds global Charity Day
Financial services organisation ICAP has held its 24th annual global Charity Day, with 100 per cent of ICAP’s revenues and commissions generated donated to more than 200 charities worldwide.
Sports Direct feels impact
Sports Direct has reported a steep drop in half-year profits, with its chairman pointing to political and media coverage as having had a damaging effect on its reputation.
The IKEA Group is on target to produce as much renewable energy as the energy it consumes in its operations by 2020, with new wind farms in Poland and the US. The Group now produces renewable energy corresponding to 71 per cent of its energy use in 2016, as reported in its Group Sustainability Report, and operates 327 wind turbines and 730,000 solar panels.
Investment for mission-led businesses
Bridges Ventures, a specialist sustainable and impact investor, is launching Evergreen, a new permanent capital vehicle designed to provide long-term support for ambitious mission-led enterprises.
Consumers hold themselves accountable
Ford's global trends report explores societal shifts expected to influence consumers and brands in 2017 and sees consumers rethinking and assessing their priorities with shifts in how they define prosperity, value material possessions and use their time.
Sustainable Business Exchange
Businesses operating in Europe have joined together in the Sustainable Business Exchange to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Google goes 100% renewable
Google’s infrastructure and the offices will be supplied with 100 per cent renewable energy sources from next year
FTSE4Good 15th anniversary
FTSE Russell is celebrating 15 years of its flagship ESG Index Series, FTSE4Good (as displayed on this site). The Index carries companies meeting specific thresholds in relation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and are regularly reviewed to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria.
Heads Together on mental health
Unilever has hosted an event for business leaders from FTSE 100 employers to learn about ways to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
The Work Foundation, part of Lancaster University, has initiated a commission on ‘Good Work’. Director Lesley Giles has invited senior leaders in business, trade unions, professional bodies, and the public and voluntary sectors to be part of this task, the results of which will drive the Work Foundation’s strategy over the next two years.
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has released a report that raises over whether ESG regulation is driving real change.
Cadbury move raises questions of role
A few weeks ago confectionary maker Cadbury indicated that it would begin a new partnership with Fairtrade, but no longer actually place its products or operations under Fairtrade certification
What makes an effective partnership?
The Better Society Network and Charity Times are co-hosting a conference on the mutual benefits of creating partnerships. True partnership between corporates and charities has been a major theme of this newsletter, and we are excited to have partnered with the leading charity title, Charity Times, in creating a conference that explores the benefits to both parties, the issues of impact assessment and finding true alignment.
Aviva appoints Global Inclusion Director
Jan Gooding is to become the first Global Inclusion Director at Aviva. This is the first time that financial services company Aviva has appointed a director to lead the inclusion and diversity strategy across the Group full time. She will formally take on her new role in January 2017.
HP and NXP win anti-slavery awards
Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NXP Semiconductors have won the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Stop Slavery Award.
Funds say executive pay is too high
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published a report 2016 focussing on the issue of executive pay. The report reveals that 87 per cent of pension funds surveyed say executive pay is too high.
Coca-Cola waste-saving initiative
As part of Coca-Cola European Partners’ (CCEP) ongoing sustainability commitments, it is partnering with packaging, labelling and recycling companies to support the recycling of 70 tonnes of waste each year from the production of glacéau smartwater bottle labels.
Telefónica pledges it will use renewables
Global telecommunications operator Telefónica has announced that at least 50 per cent of its electricity consumption will come from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2030.
Costa launches nationwide recycling scheme
Coffee chain Costa is launching a scheme at over 2,000 UK stores to ensure its takeaway cups are recycled. The scheme will even take in cups from other outlets in order to increase the number of cups recycled across the country.
Combatting slavery in the UK
A collection of major hotel chains including Hilton, Shiva Hotels and Bespoke Hotels have launched an industry-wide network to combat modern slavery.
Social Enterprise rewarded
Social Enterprise UK, the UK body for social enterprise, has announced the winners of its UK Social Enterprise Awards recognising the achievements of British social enterprises – non-commercial businesses that exist to tackle social and environmental problems.
Kew Green partners Greenfingers
Kew Green Group, the hotel operator including brands Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, has partnered with children’s charity, Greenfingers to create outdoor spaces for children in hospice care.
The Government is due to launch its review into executive pay, with Theresa May following up on her pledge to investigate the disparity between pay in the boardroom and the shop floor. After having watered down the idea of placing workers’ representatives on boards, this next review is seen as a critical test of the Governments desire to create a more equal country.
Aberdeen Asset Management selects charity partner
The global workforce of Aberdeen Asset Management has voted that the organisation’s charitable foundation will partner the Karen Hilltribes Trust as its fifth emerging markets charity partner. The Foundation has made a six-figure donation to the charity over the course of a three year commitment.
UBS and the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, have awarded a grant to a unique London bike project aiming to get refugees cycling to help them become better integrated in their community.
Virgin Media and TalkTalk have both recently used their reach to help wider communities, with their technological expertise and contact respectively to help charities.
Low awareness of Giving Tuesday
In the US, Giving Tuesday has been an annual feature for four years, but its existence remains a mystery to many. However, responses do demonstrate a significant generational divide.
The UN climate talks held in Marrakech, known as COP22, collected together over 200 countries to discuss the implementation of last year’s Paris Agreement.
EEA urges stronger measures on air pollution
A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) notes that as air quality is slowly improving, air pollution remains the single largest environmental health hazard in Europe, resulting in an estimated 467 000 premature deaths per year and a lower quality of life due to illnesses.
Oil and gas majors in transatlantic divide
A new report reveals a divide in environmental approaches between European oil and gas companies and those in America, with Europeans investing more in low-carbon technologies and shifting towards gas, as US companies stall on progress.
In a recent study, two thirds of consumers say they would like to see a recognisable carbon footprint label on products.
In much the same way that foods are labelled for nutrition, the Carbon Trust has proposed that companies that clearly demonstrate the climate change credentials of their products could secure a competitive and commercial advantage.
Evening Standard partners with charity Centrepoint
Evening Standard partners with charity Centrepoint for Christmas 2016
The campaign, which starts today and runs to February 2017, will fund the launch of the Centrepoint Helpline, a ground-breaking new service for 16-25-year-olds at risk of homelessness.
Business calls on US to honour COP21
Over 360 businesses and investors have urged President-elect Donald Trump and other global leaders to honour the Paris Climate Agreement (COP21) and the need to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy at home and around the world.
Insurance’s Week of Giving
The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) has reported that during its Week of Giving over 250 hours of service were donated to charities across the UK.
Bacardi, the largest privately held spirits company has managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half, the equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off the road each year.
Partnering doubles results
Data from the Social Business Trust (SBT) has shown that partnering social enterprises with business people from major companies has resulted in one million people in need across the UK getting help.
BEIS inquiry into accountability
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) is holding the first evidence session in its Corporate Governance inquiry.
City Bridge Trust celebrates 21 years
The City Bridge Trust has now reached 21, having started awarding grants in 1995, and since then it has awarded over 7,500 grants totalling over £350 million across London.
Fund managers held to account
Institutional investors have been ‘graded’ upon their commitment to engagement and representing their stakeholders by the regulator.
Western Union partners DEC
Western Union Business Solutions has become an official partner of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Rapid Response Network.
Women should be in a third of senior positions
Companies should ensure that more women are not only on board, but also on executive committees according to Hampton review.
Kiron Open Higher Education, a social enterprise based in Germany, has been selected as the UBS Social Innovator 2016 from EMEA.
LSE welcomes first bond for forests
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has listed a new bond from the IFC (a part of the World Bank Group) giving investors the option of being repaid in either carbon credits or cash.
FTSE launches climate index
Index provider FTSE Russell has revealed a new index, the FTSE All-World Ex CW Climate Balanced Factor Index combining a smart beta factor approach alongside climate change considerations.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has written to the chairs of each FTSE350 company requesting that they share information with investors about their culture and working practices.
Barclays a Founder Leader on disability
Barclays has become the first company to be named a Founder Leader by Business Disability Forum (BDF) in recognition of the bank’s status for disability performance.
Standard Life raises living wage
Standard Life has announced that it will be implementing the new hourly rates for the Real Living Wage from 16 November, well ahead of the May 2017 deadline.
Consumer trust in business organisations and institutions including the media and politicians has gone into freefall in recent years – with older people now among the most disaffected, according to a report commissioned by the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC).
Tougher climate targets likely
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, The Emissions Gap Report 2016, casts doubt on the ability of the current emissions reduction commitment to avoid dangerous levels of global warming.
The report by Sir John Parker, chairman of mining giant Anglo American, has recommended that every FTSE 100 company should have one non-white director by 2021.
Good Money seeks kitemarking
Good Money Week, a national week to promote responsible investment, is an apt moment to highlight research from the organisation that shows that the UK public would like ethical investment to be made easier.
Open Data Institute recognises trailblazing women
Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute Awards celebrated its third annual evening at the British Film Institute honouring innovation and excellence in open data across the world.
Ethical investment has progressed from exclusion of ‘sin stocks’ to funds being targeted at creating good, and Standard Life Investments (SLI) contends that the concept is entering the mainstream.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), the national association of 1,300 pension schemes has responded to the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee consultation on corporate governance.
Coca-Cola’s smart Christmas
Coca-Cola’s Christmas 2016 season is set to include the launch of a brand new charity initiative to provide meals to those in need.
Coca-Cola’s Christmas 2016 season is set to include the launch of a brand new charity initiative to provide meals to those in need.
The outcome of the US election could have an impact on the global evolution of RI across regulation, clean energy and carbon.
Innovations will drive offshore power
Offshore wind could grow over six-fold by 2030, from just 13 gigawatts (GW) in 2015, to 100 GW in 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Schneider Electric's ‘barometer’ exceeds targets
Schneider Electric has announced its financial and non-financial results for the third quarter of 2016. For non-financial reporting Schneider Electric uses 16 indicators in its Planet & Society barometer, a quarterly report that measures the company’s results against a number of indicators of its impact on the planet, profit and people.
MSA galvanising leadership
Twice as many CEOs and other senior executives have become actively involved in addressing modern slavery in global supply chains since the Modern Slavery Act came into force on 29 October 2015.
New research by YouGov, commissioned by Lloyds Banking Group, revealed that young people want banks to invest in financial education.
Retailers sign up to #givingtuesday
Several major retailers have signed up to support this year’s #givingtuesday – the global day of giving.
Enterprise to provide USD60m
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, which has announced a programme entitled Fill Your Tank to celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary.
Making a Difference Locally
Retailer Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity has now gifted over £1 million to good causes, following a second consecutive record month of donations. Over the last 10 months a total of 1,355 donations have been made to 964 causes throughout the UK.
CDP has released its annual review of organisations commitment to reducing their environmental impact and its 2016 Climate ‘A List’.
Electrolux a ‘world leader’ on climate
The Electrolux Group has a target for a 50 p cent reduction of carbon emissions by 2020, with major aims for improving the energy efficiency of appliances (usage represents around 80 per cent of the climate impact) and efficiency improvements in operations.
Cadogan creates new foundation fund
The Cadogan Group has created the Kensington & Chelsea Fund, a new annual endowment to benefit local charities at grassroots level.
UK most generous in Europe
Britain is the most generous country in Europe according to the CAF World Giving Index, and overall is ranked eight globally.
Firms will be ranked on social mobility
UK businesses will be ranked on how open they are to accessing talent from all backgrounds, under a joint initiative announced today by charity the Social Mobility Foundation and Social Mobility Commission.
Anti-bribery and corruption centre
An anti-bribery and corruption ‘centre of excellence’ has been created by CRI Group, a provider of business intelligence and investigative services, harnessing the company's expertise in due diligence and compliance.
A recent poll carried out by ComRes for climate change charity 10:10 shows that there is stronger UK public support for onshore wind than has been assumed, with 73 per cent of the British public backing wind power.
Carmaker Ford is aiming to reduce the use of water by nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) by 2020 as the next step toward using no drinking water at all for vehicle manufacturing.
Traidcraft moves beyond fair wages
Traidcraft has relaunched its ‘Show You Care’ campaign highlighting the powerful stories of producers it works with around the developing world – and showcasing the wide-reaching benefits of buying fair trade.
Investor Forum launches collective engagement framework
The Investor Forum has launched its Collective Engagement Framework, an investors’ guide detailing collective participation within the confines of the law and regulatory regime, in order to address corporate governance and strategic concerns directly with company boards.
Samsung’s mixed mobile messages
RepRisk and GEC Risk have jointly released a report on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 incidents, estimating a USD 5 billion loss for the company’s indecisive actions and lack of clarity.
Multinationals ‘a force for good’
Multinational companies are increasingly helping to protect whistleblowers and safeguard human rights, according to a new report.
Reports in the Financial Times suggest that oil giant BP is contemplating making significant renewable energy investment for the first time in five years.
Premier League and BT throw lifeline to powerchair team
Premier League and BT Disability Programme has helped fund, and given a lifeline to, the Crystal Palace FC Foundation powerchair football team, thanks to a new programme which will secure its future and allow it to expand.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) are to discuss the practices in the pharmaceutical industry at a global meeting on competition in Geneva.
Sodexo seeks simple changes for large impact
Managing more than 32,000 client sites globally, Sodexo is seeking to make reductions of over a third in both waste and carbon emissions at these facilities, cafés, sport and leisure venues through simple changes, such as using energy efficient HVAC systems at worksites or re-purposing used cooking oil as biodiesel.
Over 11 Trillion in Mutual Funds Analysed for Carbon Risk
A US-based website that allows investors to check the climate risk embedded in their funds, has now added the carbon footprinting of over USD11 trillion in global mutual funds and ETFs to the site.
Food body increase environmental aims
Food and drink manufacturers have jointly announced a new set of commitments to reduce the environmental impact of the sector, help protect natural capital and contribute to sustainable food for the future.
A new wildlife habitat on the Thames
A new 65 hectare wildlife reserve has been created to provide a feeding ground for wading birds and fish as part of a deep-sea terminal. DP World created additional new mudflat habitat to compensate for habitat that would be lost during construction, but ended up creating an additional twelve hectares than it was required to.
The public might think that slavery is confined to the past, at least in the UK, but almost 12,000 people are thought to be affected by modern slavery, and from goods produced by forced labour to hotels being used for sexual exploitation, modern slavery is a very real concern to the hotel and hospitality industry.
Lloyd’s launches new charity partnerships
Lloyd’s Charities Trust (LCT) has announced charity partnerships with Build Change and Whizz-Kidz.
Flexible working for women in financial services
The introduction of compulsory flexible working hours would open the floodgates to more women working in the UK financial services industry, according to Sturgeon Ventures, a regulatory incubator.
UPS holds 300 volunteer events worldwide
During October UPS will be holding the company’s 14th annual Global Volunteer Month, with nearly 20,000 employees on five continents participating. Employees will be donating a total of 325,000 volunteer hours to over 300 community service events taking place across North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa.
Aviation to cut CO2 emissions
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has agreed a deal to cut emissions and offset emissions.
GIB commits £28m to £142m energy plant
The Green Investment Bank is investing £28m in a new energy-from-waste plant near Edinburgh with the capacity to process up to 155,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste per year.
Utility companies top ‘profiteering’ poll
Utility companies, football clubs, train companies, television subscription providers and banks are deemed to be making an excessive or unfair profit from British consumers.
88,000 panel solar project
Construction of the largest distributed solar rooftop project in the Middle East has started after DP World commissioned the installation of 88,000 rooftop solar panels on its Dubai facilities as part of its ongoing efforts to curb its carbon emissions.
The financial future is green
Moody’s Investor Services has released research that points to dramatic global growth for sustainable investing, driven mainly by demand from large institutional investors such as pension funds, endowments and foundations, but also from high net worth and retail clients.
Businesses join forces to revolutionise charitable giving
BT Chairman Sir Michael Rake has launched a new phase of the national Geared for Giving Campaign, calling for every employer in the UK with over 250 employees to offer Payroll Giving to their staff.
Telecommunications company Ericsson has announced that it is helping connect mobile wallets to safe water kiosks in Kenya and Tanzania, making it easier for people to pay for water in rural areas.
Creativity hubs – a new solution?
New not-for-profit organisation Cause2Create is bringing together creative people to use their talents and passions for change.
Low-carbon markets worth 26bn
Low-carbon markets was worth 26bn to London's economy, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) has noted in its latest report. The report, It Takes a City, examining the commitments made by 533 cities in over 89 nations has identified more than 1,000 economic opportunities linked to climate change, and also features 299 cities developing new business industries, such as clean technology.
COP21 ‘tantalisingly’ close
India has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change at the UN in New York, bringing the treaty's entry into force near, with the UN describing at as ‘tantalisingly’ close. India is now the 62nd country to ratify the climate agreement, choosing the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the country's independence movement, as the occasion to join the climate accord.
Incorporating social and environmental factors into global corporate accounting remains a challenge, but collaboration between the international development and accounting communities has now created a clear set of goals for their reporting on corporate sustainability.
Santander supports projects with Crowdfunder
In an innovative project Santander is partnering with Crowdfunder to support social enterprises and community projects across the UK. Using the bank’s new Changemaker fund, eligible projects seeking funds of up to £20,000 will receive half of their funding from Santander.
Better Society Awards Open
Entries are now open for the 2017 Better Society Awards. The annual Better Society Awards celebrate the efforts that commercial companies make in order to help create a better society.
First of a kind community scheme grows
The Regent’s Place Community Fund has announced five charitable projects to be awarded with grants, supporting some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK. The Community Fund is a unique partnership of companies based at Regent’s Place with a range of companies collaborating to pool investment in the local community. The ‘Founding Funders’ are Capital One, Dentsu Aegis Network, Gazprom Marketing & Trading and lendlease, supported by fellow founders Regent’s Place Management and landlord British Land.
Carbon Clear has released a report that places the BT Group at top of its rankings of sustainability reporting for FTSE 100 companies. This is the third year that the telecommunications company has headed the rankings, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to carbon and sustainability reporting.
An app for the environment?
Imagine a future in which people can hold up their smartphone to a sandwich, or a computer and instantly know how environmentally sound it is. Perhaps the App will give you alternatives, so you can choose with your conscience.
Charity Times Awards 2016
At a packed ceremony in London more than 700 people gathered to see Refuge crowned the Charity of the Year (income over £10m). The judges recognised the charity in particular for its dedicated focus on beneficiaries, maintained in a very difficult funding environment.
Gulf between initiatives and perceived performance
In the UK, the Lego Group, IKEA and Microsoft lead the pack in terms of reputation on responsible business, according to the latest RepTrak ranking, but overall UK companies are failing to respond.
Shareholders can ‘walk the talk’ on climate risk
In a report released by ShareAction investors have been urged to reject executive compensation structures that incentivise the pursuit of high-carbon strategies. ShareAction argues that failing to do so would put shareholder value at risk as well as contributing to climate change.
Foundation grant-making hits a high
Foundation grant-making has increased to an absolute record of £2.7bn according to the latest Foundation Giving Trends report.
Following the success of the first Dive In festival in London in 2015, Dive In 2016 has expanded with an international programme of events.
Willis Towers Watson champions ASD employment
On day one of the Lloyd's of London’s Dive In event, Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking and solutions company, has announced plans to extend to the UK a programme to hire people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
Greene King’s coffee morning
Greene King, the brewing, restaurants and hotels chain is joining the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning serving up coffee and cake in pubs across the country. For the fifth year, team members are taking part in the annual fundraiser for charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support.
Global and local networks
Over 70 countries have collaborated for RSM World Day, whilst Nisa funds end of life nurse for baby hospice in local intervention.
Carney calls for green information
In a speech given by Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney at the Arthur Burns Memorial Lecture in Berlin, Carney reiterated his concerns that climate change will impose a cost on future generations that ‘the current one has no direct incentive to fix’.
A coalition of countries have signed below up to a commitment to reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs). HFCs have been increasingly used as an alternative to CFCs in refrigeration systems – known for their ability to deplete ozone layer. Whilst HFCs are a useful alternative to CFCs, they are also a greenhouse gas. There are now safer alternatives to these gases available.
Volkswagen is facing claims from investors over its emissions scandal, according to a German state court.
On 27 September the City turns red to celebrate City Giving Day, an opportunity to communicate corporate charity work to staff and the wider public.
Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, has reported that its match funding for refugee relief efforts has now raised more than $16.5 million.
Aligning corporate behaviour with performance
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has warned that companies are facing a wake-up call to review their cultures before they can win back broad support from society.
Employers back sustainable apprenticeships
Employers and MPs met at the Houses of Parliament last week at an event hosted charity Believe in Young People (BiYP) to discuss the Government’s apprenticeship targets ahead of the imposition of a new levy. Attendees heard from an expert panel on the importance of adequately preparing young people for the world of work and the value apprentices have brought to major employers across the country.
Energy undergoing a ‘broad reorientation’
A new International Energy Agency (IEA) report, World Energy Investment 2016, provides a detailed analysis of investment across the global energy system, reporting a drop in energy investment of 8 per cent in 2015, with oil and gas upstream spending reductions outweighing and masking a significant rise in investment in renewables, electricity networks and energy efficiency.
New guidelines on ESG investment
Local Authorities have been given new guidelines from the Department for Communities and Local Government regarding ESG investments.
M&S and Macmillan team up for coffee
As part of M&S’s sponsorship of Macmillan Cancer, Joanna Lumley has hosted a Macmillan Coffee Morning at High Street Kensington. The special coffee morning kick started a season of coffee mornings which will be happening all over the country including thousands taking place on the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 30th September.
Employees attracted to companies’ charitable record
Employees are attracted to companies with charitable track record and corporate charitable and community initiatives seen as key differentiator by job hunters. Banking, retail and media identified as in most need of doing more.
Calls for greater impact investment
The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) is calling on asset owners and managers around the world to place their capital in impact investments.
Brexit worries for partnerships
Over half of the UK’s major NGOs and charities have concerns that Brexit will have a negative impact on corporate partnerships, according to a report released today by C&E Advisory.
The MeyGen Project has formally unveiled a tidal turbine that will be deployed in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The device will be the first of four at the Nigg Energy Park that will form the world's first large-scale tidal energy farm.
Electrolux Food Foundation
The Electrolux Group has announced its ambition is to contribute more in addressing major global challenges such as hunger, poor nutrition, food waste and responsible consumption, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
London 5th most sustainable city
London has been ranked as the fifth most sustainable city in the world on the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index from infrastructure consultancy Arcadis, ahead of international competitors including Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
BlackRock backs environmental investment
Asset manager BlackRock has advised its investors to consider climate change when making decisions on investment, stating that doing so would not necessarily mean lower returns.
Public back local projects
An overwhelming majority of the public would support local renewable energy projects if they were owned and controlled by the community, according to new research from Co-operative Energy.
The board of Sports Direct has announced that it has received the Working Practices Report from Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, one of the company's legal advisers, outlining progress made in the last 90 days by the business to investigate, review and where appropriate start to address shortcomings in employment practices.
Aspirations in the next generation
There is the old saw that children want to be train drivers when they grow up. Quite how this relates to future careers in neither clear nor scientific, however it is an indicator of the ambitions of youth in the most general terms – what they are interested in and see as relevant even as they grow older. A recent survey by Currys PC World has shown that those desires have changed with the times.
Coca-Cola places alignment at its heart
Coca-Cola has a long tradition of responsible business operations, but there are several key elements that have added to its success and the forward looking approaches that it is now incorporating.
The US and China ratify Paris climate deal
The US and China have announced they will formally ratify the Paris climate change agreement, a major breakthrough in the fight against global warming.
ERAFP breaks new ground in climate compliance
France's pension scheme for civil servants, ERAFP, has revealed the proportion of fossil fuels in its portfolio is already aligned with that advocated by the International Energy Agency for 2030.
In its latest annual report, the scheme published for the first time a measurement of alignment of its equity portfolio's energy mix with the International Energy Agency's 2°C scenarios for 2030 and 2050.
FIFA to host World Summit on Ethics and Leadership in Sport
The World Forum for Ethics in Business (WFEB) has again invited experts from around the globe to discuss all issues concerning ethical behaviour in sports in the second World Summit on Ethics and Leadership in Sports. The event will take place on 16 September at the Home of FIFA, in Zurich.
Metso sets sustainability targets
Metso has revised its sustainability strategy and set targets related to its own approach to sustainability for the years 2016-2018, their revised sustainability strategy consists of four focus areas, and all of them have measurable sub-categories concerning the company's own operations.
The Creative Diversity Network announced Project Diamond
The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) announces the launch of Diamond this week, an ambitious new diversity monitoring system that will help broadcasters and producers increase the diversity of those working on and off screen in the British television industry.
Coca-Cola Company meets 2020 water replenishment goal five years early
The Coca-Cola Company and its global bottling partners (the Coca-Cola system) announced yesterday that they have met their goal to replenish the equivalent amount of water used in their global sales volume back to nature and communities. Based on this achievement, Coca-Cola is the first Fortune 500 company to publicly claim achieving such an aggressive water replenishment target.
Investors call Sports Direct to account
Several high profile institutional investors have called on Sports Direct to review its governance. Under the initiative of The Investor Forum, with collective shareholder engagement from its members and the board of Sports Direct International (SDI), a statement has demanded that the company commit to undertake an independent review of its entire governance practices at it AGM.
Rockwool Group seeks footprint reduction
Danish insulation materials company Rockwool Group has released a new sustainability report that re-orientates the entire organisation to focus upon environmental goals that are aligned to its products.
Fawcett Society calls for work restructure
The Fawcett Society has highlighted the need for a restructuring of work practices in the UK , and in particular part-time work, in order to avoid missing out on talent. The organisation is keen to see a more positive approach to career breaks and part-time work.
Investor pressure on Sports Direct
In a further instance of investor pressure, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPF) has backed a resolution seeking a review of human capital management strategy at Sports Direct, with the view that responsive business practices by companies lead to sustainable returns for investors over the long-term.
Gender earnings gap – two studies
Recently two rather different studies have been published on the earnings gap between men and women in the UK. First, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has produced a report into the average earnings difference, and details this both by age and academic level. As a piece of research in in its own right it is a thoughtful analysis of the state of earnings, and quite logically ends with the desire to research the reasons for the disparity (although it does point to career choices, part-time working and childcare as potential areas for further research).
Woodford Investment Management has decided to stop giving bonuses to its employees, citing their ‘ineffectiveness’ as the reason. The firm's 35 staff will receive an increase in pay and benefits as an alternative.
The latest evidence that social awareness in investment is rising has been presented with Alliance Trust Savings offering EQ Investors’ Positive Impact Portfolios on its platform. The portfolios, established in 2012, are designed to meet a growing investor appetite for an investment approach which is committed to making a positive contribution to society or the environment.
IFoA urges G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies
The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has signed the Overseas Development Institutes Statement urging the G20 governments to honour their long-standing commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. The IFoA said fossil fuel subsidies act as a barrier to investment in renewables on the scale needed to deliver greenhouse gas reduction commitments made at COP21.
Not-for-profit think-tank Tomorrow’s Company has released a report outlining the need for business to take a greater role in social leadership. The report contents that businesses have collectively lost their voice because people sense that they have no stake the current system.
A fine balance: EDITORIAL
Corporate funders of charitable organisations, and the charities that take the funding are, at times, placed in a difficult situation. The decision to accept or donate funds from certain sources sits at a nexus of need, public perception and motivation.
Peak stuff – mobile phones showing the way?
Greenpeace has conducted a global survey to explore people’s thoughts regarding the issues of mobile phone consumption, repair, and recycling that could hold the framework for all future manufacturers and recycling schemes.
VW brands take further tumble
It has not been a good time for Volkswagen Group. The emissions scandal (Dieselgate) continues to send ripples of bad news across the organisation, incurring both fines and dropping sales. The Group brands have collectively suffered from tis, and now it faces criminal action in the US.
Hornsea Project Two receives consent
The Government has announced that Hornsea Project Two has received development consent from Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, giving the go-ahead to create the world’s largest offshore windfarm.
Eco-travel goes full cycle
In another example of creating alignment of public good and core business, Finnish renewable oil producer Neste has tapped into the growth in ‘eco-holidays’ and travel, and Neste’s EcoTravel is now claiming to be the first sustainable travel concept that will enable people to be environmentally friendly at every step. Every service is powered by renewables, with even the flights and transportation to restaurants using renewable fuel.
Public will pay for environmental credentials
UK shoppers are prepared to pay a premium of 10 per cent for products that can display their environmental credentials.
Standard Life ramps up ESG
The march of more ethical investments continues, with Standard Life Investments strengthening its ESG Investment Team with the hire of Marc Brammer and Sophie Rahm as Responsible Investment Analysts. Reporting to Amanda Young, Head of Responsible Investment, Brammer and Rahm will play an important role in the further integration of responsible investment considerations into the wider investment process and engaging with companies on environmental and social issues.
Initiative and passion as important as a degree
Initiative, passion and self-motivation are as important to UK employers as a holding a degree claims a report from Uni’s not for me (UNFM), an information and advice resource for young people considering the alternatives to university.
Social bond fund celebrates 100m
As the Threadneedle UK social bond fund approaches its third anniversary, investment manager Columbia Threadneedle Investments has announced that the fund has now reached over £100m in assets under management.
UK fifth in energy rankings
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its annual International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ranking countries on their efficiency efforts. This year the United Kingdom is in fifth place out of 23 countries, moving up one place from joint sixth spot with Japan last year.
1 in 10 UK organisations have concerns over disabled employment
Are recent survey points to multiple barriers to employers recruiting disabled staff.
Digital trust might derail banking choice
As the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) makes proposals for the sharing of financial data between banks, a survey has highlighted the widespread distrust that the public have for companies holding information. The results mean that the CMA reforms, made in order to create better services, might fail in light of this issue.
Batteries that are meant to fade away
Iowa State University has released details of a new battery that will decompose upon exposure to light, heat or water. Such “transient electronics” are in their infancy, but the applications could be large, from limited environmental impact to military devices that self-destruct, with echoes of Mission Impossible.
Carbon reduction in hotels
Millennium and Copthorne Hotels Plc has been re-certified as reaching the Carbon Trust Standard. The hotels group achieved a 10.9 per cent reduction in absolute tCO2e between 2013 and 2015, with the company taking steps to reduce and manage carbon emissions and energy use across its UK estates.
CBRE extends partnership with Shelter
CBRE, the commercial real estate company, has achieved its initial two year UK fundraising target of £500,000 for Shelter, the UK’s housing and homelessness charity.
Interview: Charles Wookey Blueprint for Better Business
BAM Nutall has joined Blueprint for Better Business, and CEO Charles Wookey is clear that such a movement is necessary if progress is to be maintained.
Publicis Groupe has announced the resignation of Kevin Roberts, the executive chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi. Roberts was due to retire in May 2017 but is stepping down in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding his remarks on ambition.
Standard Life choose Place2Be
Standard Life employees have chosen Place2Be as their new charity partner. Place2Be is a national charity providing emotional support to children in schools, working with more than 257 schools nationwide. Its services span individual and group counselling for children, therapeutic support for parents or carers, as well as training, advice and support for Head teachers and their teams.
A new survey on cycling has indicated that businesses across the UK could gain an average of £32,000 a year in productivity if employees cycled to work.
Allianz announces SOS partnership
Allianz SE and SOS Children’s Villages have announced a global partnership, initially for a three-year period.
Self-service coffee business Costa Express, has been awarded the ISO14001 International Standard for its commitment to sustainable practice.
2016 Olympics responsibly-source
In order to highlight the responsible uses of forest products, and their potential applications, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has released a list detailing all of the places where responsibly managed wood-based products have been used for the construction and promotion of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Corporate reputation a big pull
Randstad, has released its Randstad Awards Report, containing a wealth of information including the factors that attract employees to particular brands, and the role of ESG plays one important factor here.
Pensions code to provide boost for responsible investment
The Pensions Regulator’s new DC code of practice is to provide a huge boost for responsible investment according to UKSIF.
Costa supporting coffee-growing communities
Costa Coffee has reached a 10m fundraising milestone for the Costa Foundation with support from over 14,000 Costa team members across the UK, as well as customers and suppliers, and fundraising activities including the Three Peaks Challenge and the annual Foundation Fortnight across stores.
Looking after the pennies
Fundraising partnerships have been a successful cornerstone of engagement with communities and causes, but it is instructive to see an organisation’s primary skill applied in a slightly lateral way to help charities.
Executive Remuneration Working Group final report
The Executive Remuneration Working Group has issued its final report on pay, proposing ten recommendations to rebuild trust.
Donors seek assurances on use of funds
Major donors are now seeking greater assurance that their gifts are being used for transparent and effective charitable purposes. In light of revelations concerning the Kids Company charity, the need to be able to understand and follow funds has created a demand for ‘donor audits’.
Renewables create new services
The demand for renewable energy has also created an expanding market in related services, and the latest evidence for this expansion has come in the form of GCube Insurance Services building capacity and predicting substantial growth in the US and Canada.
Barclays joins elite of disability champions
Barclays, the UK-based banking organisation, has achieved a score of 98 per cent in the Business Disability Forum's Disability Standard. This score represents the highest ever score awarded to any organisation since the introduction of the Standard in 2004.
Lewisham Council has managed to achieve a near 50/50 balance of senior roles by gender and complete pay equality. The lessons for corporates and other bodies are enshrined in its successful tackling of culture.
SEC lobbied for ESG disclosure
In the US, a coalition of environmental groups has petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to require environmental, social, and governance disclosures.
LAPFF and CTI launch low carbon transition report
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) and the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) have launched a new report ‘Engaging for a Low Carbon Transition’ which sets out why a 2˚C business model can be less risky than a ‘business-as-usual’ model for oil and gas firms.
Starbucks looks to recycling cups
Currently one in 400 paper cups is currently recycled, with most ending up in landfill. UK-based company Frugalpac saw this opportunity, and has created a paper cup that is easily recycled, with coffee giant Starbucks having already pledged to test the product with a view to a whole trail. Naturally, should it pass these tests it could be adopted across the chain.
Visa backs refugee athletes
Refugee Olympians will be competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as independent participants, helped by funding from Visa.
Crossrail continues to raise the bar
At the release of its latest sustainability report, Crossrail’s Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme placed particular emphasis on how the programme has sought to raise the bar in sustainability and opportunities, and how the Crossrail could demonstrate how major infrastructure projects could play a role in meeting the UK’s commitments to the environment.
Virgin Trains advocate rehabilitation
Virgin Trains has launched a toolkit for businesses which offers practical advice on hiring ex-offenders.
NAO estimates £30bn cost of no CCS
The cancellation of the government-backed competition to capture and store carbon emissions could result in a £30bn higher bill for meeting climate targets.
Continued demand for renewable stock
Renewable energy has continued to attract investors, with the issue of Thrive Renewables (Buchan) bonds successfully placed on the positive investment and savings platform, Ethex.
Corporate culture key to sustainable growth
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published the results of a new study exploring the relationship between corporate culture and long-term business success in the UK.
Reporting on human capital leaves Investors in the dark
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published its toolkit, ‘Understanding the Worth of the Workforce’, designed to provide pension schemes and investors with guidance on what data and commentary they should request from the companies in which they invest.
In the run up to the US election, Mattel is introducing new President and Vice President Barbie dolls as part of the brand's careers line, aiming to expose girls to inspiring careers and empowered roles. In introducing the dolls, Barbie linked up with She Should Run, a non-partisan organisation dedicated to expanding the talent pool of future elected female leaders.
Travel websites ‘lack inclusivity’
Digital agency Sigma has released a report investigating the user experience and accessibility of some of the UK’s top travel websites, with several high profile names in the travel industry failing to cater to disabled users.
Raleigh International announces a three year partnership with European bank BNP Paribas
With the support from BNP Paribas, Raleigh International intends to deliver sustainable projects in Nepal, which was hit by two major earthquakes in 2015, through volunteers and Nepalese people.
The volunteers will work with some of the poorest and hardest hit rural communities to rebuild houses and improve water and sanitation.
UK Music Diversity Taskforce Launches First Cross Industry Workforce Census
THE UK Music Diversity Taskforce launched the first ever music industry workforce diversity survey yesterday. It is supported by all elements of the UK music industry and was created to gain an accurate snapshot of diversity in the workplace (with an initial focus on gender and ethnicity) within the UK’s many music businesses.
The distribution of the survey coincides with the first UK Music Diversity Summit, to be held in London today.
The first of a fleet of new electric council vehicles hit the streets of Leeds
The first of a fleet of new electric council vehicles hit the streets of Leeds yesterday.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for environment and sustainability, took the plug-in van on its inaugural journey.
£20 million low carbon demonstration fund
Accelerated delivery of large scale low carbon infrastructure projects in Scotland.
The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) announced the launch of funding support aimed at the delivery of large scale transformational low carbon infrastructure projects based in Scotland.
Schneider Electric’s global commitment to gender equality
Schneider Electric has announced that it now has 40 country presidents have formally committed to gender equality, representing the oversight of over 90 per cent of the company’s employees.
Jewson building better communities winners
The winners of the Building Better Communities competition, run by Jewson, have been announced with the Eden-Rose Coppice Trust taking the main prize and 27 other projects winning a share of the regional prize fund.
UBS searches for social innovators
UBS is launching its Social Innovators programme, attempting to support high-potential social enterprises that deliver innovative solutions. The selected candidates will receive a $40,000 grant and join a year-long accelerator programme that will guide them through growth and scale their operations to create greater social impact. The winners will also include access to UBS’s network and knowledge base, global exposure and expert coaching. UBS Social Innovators is being launched with support from Ashoka, the global network of social entrepreneurs.
Positive effects of match-funding
A new report regarding corporate match-funding has been released, with findings that donors are likely to give 2.5 times more to charity on average when match-funded.
Management consultancy Corporate Citizenship has released two papers on the need to effectively manage the impact of sponsorship in sport and of community investment. Both areas can provide considerable mutual benefits (from positive associations to community building) but likewise both have dangers in reputation risk and mission drift.
Lloyds Bank creates social entrepreneurs
Recent research commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund has shown a positive impact of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme, creating 7,000 jobs and helping 1.1 million beneficiaries.
National Grid predicts shortfall for 2020
The Nation Grid has released its Future Energy Scenarios report, making speculative scenarios of different approaches to energy in the next few years. However, in even the most environmentally rigorous scenario, the report suggests that the UK will fail to reach its target of producing 15 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020.
Schemes change behaviours
Results of a recent recycling scheme have demonstrated that behavioural change can be made through a mixture of increased awareness and, critically, incentives. After analysing the recycling behaviour of over two million kerbside collections in the last two years, the Greenredeem programme has managed to significantly increase the average rate of recycling - with members recycling twice as often and twice as much as non-members.
Paris bans older cars to improve environment
Paris has introduced a ban, running from 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, on all types of car registered before 1997. The ban, started on 1 July, represents the latest in a series of measures to improve air quality in major cities.
Antarctic ozone layer ‘healing’
According to a report published in the journal Science, researchers have found evidence that the ozone layer above Antarctica is starting to repair itself. The research estimates that the ozone ‘hole’ was 4 million square kilometres smaller in 2015 than in 2000.
Fifth carbon budget approved
The UK Energy and Climate Secretary has announced that the fifth carbon budget has been approved, calling for a 57 per cent emissions reduction by 2032, in line with recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change.
Ford achieves zero waste milestone
All of Ford of Europe’s manufacturing plants have managed to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfill sites from an annual 6,000 tonnes to zero in five years. In its recently published Sustainability Report the innovative measures employed to achieve zero waste mentioned include the briquetting of grinding sludge from the Dagenham engine plant, so that the oil can be re-used in the production process, and at the Valencia plant in Spain, generating alternative fuel from waste that could not be recycled.
Small Charities receive 564 hours of free advice
Business professionals delivered 564 hours of free advice to small charities on Big Advice Day. A range of volunteers from the accountancy, HR, retail, finance, communications and legal sectors volunteered expertise at events across the UK offering free one-to-one advice to small charities across the country.
US corporate contribution trends
The 2016 Civic 50 list has been released at the Conference on Volunteering and Service in Detroit. Civic 50 winners are US companies that have demonstrated active support for communities where they do business. Now in its fourth year, The Civic 50 survey evaluates participating companies based on four dimensions: investment, integration, institutionalisation, and impact
Business will be the driver of climate action
The Business End of Climate Change, a new research paper launched at the Business & Climate Summit has placed a figure on the greenhouse gas emissions cuts that could be achieved by business worldwide.
Ecclesiastical reaches target early
Ecclesiastical Insurance, the national insurer owned by the Allchurches Trust, has celebrated the £50 million the organisation has given to charities at an event at Gloucester Cathedral, in the company’s home city.
Leading Disability Employer Seal
Sodexo has earned the 2016 Leading Disability Employer Seal for exemplary practices in hiring and employment of people with disabilities.
Tesco proudly supports London Pride
Tesco is pulling out all the stops to support London Pride this weekend.
On Saturday 25th June and Sunday 26th June, stores across London will join in the annual LGBT festival, displaying rainbow bunting, balloons, and even arranging their fruit and vegetable displays to reflect the Pride colours.
Diversity and Inclusion Charter launched
The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has launched a Diversity and Inclusion Charter to help embed a change in culture in the highways and transportation industry.
Business in the Community appoints New Chief Executive
Amanda Mackenzie OBE has been announced as the fourth Chief Executive of Business in the Community. Amanda will bring a wealth of board level corporate experience to Business in the Community, a unique and powerful network that has inspired positive change in business behaviour for over 30 years and whose President is HRH The Prince of Wales.
Berkeley Homes demonstrates new ways of living
A new concept in housing has been showcased by Berkeley Homes. With the aim of maximising usable space and being environmentally friendly, the Urban House is a three or four-bedroom house that can be customised to accommodate different lifestyles, making it suitable for first time buyers, those raising a family, considering downsizing, or who need to care for an elderly relative or manage a disability.
DHL wants sustainable delivery options
DHL has opened up two global competitions for ideas that will create more sustainable delivery options, such as self-driving delivery carts, or robotics.
M&S invites customers to join its energy scheme
Marks and Spencer has opened up investment in solar energy to customers who can join its M&S Energy Society. Members can invest between £100 and £100,000 to fund solar panels on nine M&S stores, with the company then buying the energy generated from the solar panels to power its stores.
Dell has produced its annual update its 2020 Legacy of Good programme, highlighting the progress it has made in several areas, such as the reduction in packaging (93 per cent is now sustainably sourced and recyclable or compostable) and in helping reduce carbon emissions via its ‘Connected Workplace’ programmes, with a claimed saving of 6,700 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Divestment: Cambridge takes a different view
The University of Cambridge has rejected calls to divest with its working group on investment responsibility arguing it is more effective to keep its investments in oil and gas companies, and engage with them about change.
VW Group has announced that it will be creating a new range of electric cars. Announcing its intentions at its Strategy 2025 press conference, it has articulated a vision of increasing its commitment to environmental issues. Coming on the back of the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal, and a double digit fall in profits direct attributed to this, VW is looking to both boost its environmental credentials and place itself at the forefront of new green technologies in a case of business and sustainability being aligned.
Coca-Cola GB extends activity support
Coca-Cola Great Britain has extended its partnership with sports charity StreetGames that will see the partnership through to 2020. Part of the Coca-Cola GB’s £20 million investment in community-based activity programmes, StreetGames will now join the company’s ParkLives programme, an initiative which brings free activities to local communities in parks and green spaces across the UK, and help expand it to 35 new locations across England, Scotland and Wales.
Apple has formed a new renewable energy company to sell the surplus solar power. Already a major user of solar and hydrogen fuel cells at its new campus, and using 100 per cent renewable in its US facilities (93 per cent worldwide), the company is now embarking on ways to sell excess power with CEO Tim Cook announcing the formation of Apple Energy.
New research and analysis from the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) has calculated the NHS and wider health sector could save up to £414m and cut 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year by 2020.
Norway pledges carbon neutrality
Norway has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, acting on the UN's December 2015 climate accord and aiming to create the first truly carbon neutral nation two decades ahead of target.
Costs of alternatives could fall by two thirds
The costs for alternative electricity generation by could fall by up to 59 per cent in a decade, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The report, The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost Reduction Potential to 2025, outlines the regulatory and policy frameworks that could to realise major future cost reductions.
RepRisk, the ESG risk monitoring service, has released a report on tax optimisation (also called tax avoidance), which includes a focus on the three sectors most associated with the practice: technology, retail, and support services (consultancy), with studies including Amazon, McDonald’s and Mossack Fonseca.
Women in financial services
A report from New Financial, Women in UK Financial Services, analysing female representation on boards and executive committees at a sample of 200 companies across UK financial services has found that while women hold nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of board positions, they comprise just one in seven (14 per cent) of executive committee members.