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Millennials: fair-minded, but flighty

More than half of young people in developed and developing economies would rule out working for an employer because the firm’s values do not match their own. And according to a wide-ranging study by professional services firm Deloitte, 44% of young people have actually turned down a job offer because of a values misfit. The personal values of so-called millennials also impact what assignments they are willing to take on once working for a business, with almost half turning down a task that they felt uncomfortable with. An overwhelming 87% also believe that metrics for business success should include non-financial measures alongside financial performance. It’s little wonder therefore that a substantial minority is on the look-out for “better fit” employers. More than four in 10 millennials would like to leave their current employers in the next two years. That figure increases to two-thirds when the timeframe is extended to five years. The Deloitte annual survey, now in its fifth year, is based on responses from nearly 7,700 millennials from 29 countries.

Deloitte, Annual millennial survey 2016

UK ethical sales worth £38bn

Sales of ethical goods in the UK increased by 8% in 2014 thanks in large part to strong sales of solar panels (£716m), electric vehicles and other low-emission (tax band A) cars (£7bn) and bicycles (£956m). The overall value of ethical sales amounts to £38bn, up from £35bn the previous year, a report by Ethical Consumer and Triodos Bank finds. The definition of “ethical” is relatively broad, including charity shops, organic food and energy efficient lightbulbs. Some of the leading products areas include sustainable fish (up 12%), free range poultry sales (up 8%) and free range egg sales (up 2%). A stricter definition based on Fairtrade sales shows a different picture, with revenues dropping 4% to £1.6bn compared with the previous year – the first time Fairtrade sales have dropped since their launch two decades ago.

Ethical Consumer markets report 2015

Climate change to hit south-east Asia hard

South-east Asia could lose up to 11% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2100 due to climate change if no action is taken. The warning comes not from an environmental group, but the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a level-headed multilateral lender. Greenhouse gas emissions in the region have increased by about 5% per year over the past two decades, largely driven by deforestation and changes in land use. Without explicit mitigation measures, the ADB estimates that the region’s emissions will jump by at least 60% by 2050 (compared with 2010), with energy sector emissions rising by six times that rate. To keep emissions at 500 parts per million would require mitigation policies that would cost in the region of 2.5%-3.5% of the region’s GDP over the 2010-2050 period. These measures, which mostly focus on cleaner energy and less carbon-intensive land use, would bring benefits to health, transport and road safety that would alone offset 40%–50% of the policy costs. Add in the climate-change losses avoided (such as from floods and harvest failures) and the benefits derived from stabilizing the climate range from 5 to 11 times the net mitigation costs from 2010 to 2100 (using a 5% discount rate). That said, if the region delays to take action for 10 years, the cost of keeping within a 500ppm scenario by 2050 will increase by 60%.

ADB, Southeast Asia and the economics of global climate stabilization

Storming performance for Scotland’s wind sector 

Wind generation in Scotland increased by 16% during 2015, exceeding domestic demand in six of the year’s 12 months, the environment group WWF Scotland calculates. For the year as a whole, wind facilities generated sufficient power to meet the needs of 97% of Scottish households, equivalent to 2.34m homes. The total output from wind reached 10.4 million MWh of electricity for the year. In December alone, output hit 1.4 million MWh, a record for the month (and 48% above domestic demand). In a separate report by WWF Scotland, the environmental charity compares the cost of reaching Scotland’s 2030 decarbonisation target (set at 50g CO2/kWh or lower) via a renewables-based power generation system or through an approach based on thermal power plants with carbon capture and storage technology attached. The first option is projected to cost an estimated £663m a year, compared to £1.85bn a year for the second. The cost of a renewables-based system is broadly similar to the cost of generating the same amount of unabated gas-fired electricity, the report concludes. The latest available figures show that Scotland’s grid intensity is approximately 271gCO2/ kWh.

WWF Scotland: Pathways to power

Tree-cover and climate

If the UK was to increase tree cover to 30% by the middle of the century (only 12% of the UK is currently tree-covered), farmers would be able to meet the 80% reduction in carbon emissions (on a 1990 baseline) that they are required to achieve by that date. The move would also require the restoration of 700,000 hectares of wet peatland. Crop and livestock agriculture accounts for about 9% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions. The research, from Cambridge University, was published in the journal Nature.

The potential for land sparing to offset greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

Fat Cat Tuesday

Dread going to work on Monday? Not if you’re chief executive of a major UK company. By Tuesday, 5 January, the second day of the working year for most employees, the leaders of the FTSE 100 had already earned more than the annual average for the typical UK worker. The average UK salary in the UK is £27,645 a year (up from £27,200 in 2014), compared to £4.96m for top bosses (equivalent to £1,200 per hour). The figures are published by the High Pay Centre and are based on the Manifest MMK pay survey.

High Pay Centre

Listed companies make most likely reporters

Listed companies predominate in North America when it comes to non-financial reporting, a new study finds. An analysis of 400 sustainability reports undertaken by US-based sustainability consultancy CSE finds that more than four-fifths (82%) of the reports are from publicly owned companies. The most likely companies to report non-financial data in a dedicated annual report are in the financial, energy/utility, and mining sectors.


Institutional insights

Digital divide still wide

Three-fifths of the world’s population remains excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy, while 4 billion people lack access to the internet, a report by the World Bank finds. The report says “digital dividends” (such as economic growth, jobs and services) are not keeping up with the spread of digital technologies. With respect to the latter, the number of internet users worldwide is estimated to have more than tripled since 2005. Many success stories can still be found, however. More than 40% of adults in east Africa pay their utility bills using a mobile phone, for example. In China, 8 million people are selling goods on an e-commerce platform. Worldwide, we now send 207bn emails a day, undertake 4.2bn Google searches, generate 2.3bn GB of web traffic and watch 8.8bn YouTube videos. Over the past decade, the World Bank has invested $12.6bn in information and communications technologies.

World Bank, The world development report 2016: Digital dividends

Migrants 4.4% of global workforce

Migrant workers now number 150.3m, accounting for nearly 4.4% of the global workforce. The participation rate of working-age migrants in the labour market is estimated to be 72.7%, higher than the figure for non-migrants (63.9%). According to a new study by the International Labour Organization, 83.7m are men and 66.6m are women. Almost half of migrant workers are concentrated in either North America or northern, southern and western Europe. Arab states have the highest proportion of migrant workers as a share of all workers, with 35.6%. At a sector level, most migrants are employed in service industries (71.1%), followed by manufacturing and construction (17.8%), agriculture (11.1%) and domestic work (7.7%).

ILO Global estimates on migrant labour

Warmest year on record, again

The global average temperature in 2016 is set to be 1.14 Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, with a 95% likelihood of the rise being between 1.02C and 1.26C. Last year, the warmest year on record, was about 1 Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. According to the UK Met Office, the increase is partly accounted for by climate change and partly by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño, which is expected to wane during 2016. The agreement signed at the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December commits to keep the world’s temperature rise below 2C, with an ambition to restrict the rise to 1.5C.

Met Office report on global temperature

Company snapshots

5.5m students passed through Cisco’s Academy
One million students took part in courses to equip them with IT and career skills through Cisco’s Networking Academy in 2015. The Academy, which has been running for 18 years, provides training opportunities through 9,500 learning institutions in 170 countries. Since its inception, the programme has supported more than 5.5 million students. Between 2005 and 2014, 1.3m students gained jobs after completing Cisco’s CCNA Routing and Switching curriculum, which is designed to facilitate access into entry-level networking jobs and IT careers. The curriculum consists of four 70-hour courses. The company and its charitable foundation donated $223m in in-kind contributions to the Academy programme in 2015.

2015 Cisco CSR report

P&G reduces transport emissions

Procter & Gamble clocks up 25% fewer truck kilometres per unit of production now than it did in 2010, surpassing its internal target of a 20% reduction. Within North America, meanwhile, the US consumer goods firm has successfully converted more than one fifth of its truckload to natural gas vehicles, avoided more than 14 million truck miles using diesel. P&G recently committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities by 30% by 2020 (against a 2010 baseline). Among the other highlights of the company’s recent performance is the $1.6bn it has generated through savings and revenue creation thanks to improvements in its waste management. Currently, 68 of its production sites around the world (nearly half of its total sites) send zero manufacturing waste to landfill.

P&G sustainability reports

Carnival creates nearly 1m jobs

In its latest full year, Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, hosted more than 10.6 million guests, more than half of all cruise passengers worldwide. The cruise industry as a whole generates $118bn in global economic impact, supports 939,000 jobs worldwide and pays $39bn in wages. Carnival, which has 100 ships, reported revenues of $15.9bn.

Carnival Corporation sustainability report

cheat sheet  economy  Ethics  climate change  Environment  greenhouse gas emissions  sustainability  migrants 

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