EU lobbying, Uber discontent, Qatar wage protection and Pepsi carcinogen limit
Multinationals urged to quit climate-unfriendly EU lobby groups
As part of efforts to clean up their portfolios, a group of institutional investors worth a combined £46bn are urging nine companies, including Glencore, BP, Procter & Gamble and Rio Tinto, to cut ties with EU lobbying groups they believe hold regressive positions on climate change.
Coordinated by Share Action, a charity that promotes responsible invest-ment, the investors have written to top management at the multinationals, calling on them to reconsider their memberships of trade associations including Brussels-based BusinessEurope and the European Chemical Industry Council.
Arne Lööw, head of corporate governance at Swedish national pension fund Fjärde AP-fonden, says: “We believe it is important that investors put pressure on companies who are financing associations seeking to undermine climate legislation.”
In a published response, BusinessEurope describes the concerns expressed by investors as “inaccurate”, “misleading” and “biased.”
Uber accused of causing unemployment in Brazil
Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, has criticised app-based ride-sharing service Uber for contributing to unemployment in Latin America’s largest economy, and has called on local authorities to regulate the service.
Conventional taxi drivers across Brazil have been staging protests and lobbying lawmakers to ban the app, which they believe gives Uber drivers an unfair advantage due to lower overheads – Uber drivers do not pay the fees established for licensed taxi drivers – and lack of regulation.
A study from the Administrative Council for Economic Defence has, however, concluded that passenger transport services enabled by apps on smartphones, such as Uber, tend to be positive for competition and benefit users, adding that there is no economic evidence to justify the prohibition of these new services.
Qatar’s Ahli Bank to place ATMs in labour camps
Qatar’s Ahli Bank will be placing mobile ATM machines around labour camps in order to benefit migrant workers by facilitating access to their salaries.
The bank says the move is part of efforts to support Qatar’s new Wage Protection system (WPS) which requires companies to transfer salaries electronically to employees' bank accounts, making it easier to track those employers that do not comply with the new law coming into force on 3 November.
Human rights groups have often highlighted the plight of migrant workers in the Gulf country, which are seldom payed on time or what they are owed in its entirety, and in recent years, Qatar has faced increased pressure from international bodies, including the UN, to reform its labour laws.
Pepsi agrees to limit cancer-causing agent in products
Pepsi and health advocacy group the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) have struck a deal in which the soft drink company has agreed to a legally binding limit on 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI) in its colas, after independent testing found carcinogenic levels of the chemical compound in Pepsi products.
The settlement was reached after the CEH filed a complaint against Pepsi in the Superior Court in Alameda, California, for civil penalties and injunctive relief for alleged violations of Proposition 65, a California law that requires businesses to notify customers about significant amounts of chemicals in the products their buy.
“The agreement makes Pepsi the first major cola maker to agree to a legally binding limit on 4-MeI in its products,” says Charles Margulis, spokesman for the CEH.
Pepsi says that although this case is technically limited to California, its products are uniformly manufactured, so the agreement will apply to all its drinks nationwide.
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