ESGByte: Issue 6

February 22, 2021

COMPANIES IN NEWS >> #JPMorgan, #H&M, #AnheuserBusch, #AlphabetInc, #Google, #Carlyle, #McDonalds, #AshokLeyland


In this edition, shareholders will continue to call the shots at JP Morgan for now, ESG enthusiasm brimmeth over for H&M, beer is about to get better still, Google, not so much and McDonald’s links exec pay to diversity


Stakeholder focused business not for JP Morgan, for now

Even though Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan and Chase has called for companies to focus on creating value for employees, communities, customers in addition to shareholders; however, the JP Morgan and Chase Board doesn’t think so. The Board has cited a legal review, saying that when the interests of shareholders conflict with that of other stakeholders, the interest of shareholders must prevail.

H&M Group’s Euro 500 million sustainability bond issue oversubscribed 7.6 times

Apparel Brand, H&M, has issued Euro 500 million worth of sustainability bonds with a maturity of 8.5 years and annual coupon rate of 0.25 per cent. The issue was oversubscribed 7.6 times and is linked to sustainability goals to be met by H&M. The company targets to increase the share of recycled materials in its production to 30 per cent, reduce emissions from its own operations by 20 per cent as well as scope 3 emissions by 10 per cent by 2025.

Maker of Budweiser takes out an ESG goals linked loan

Beer maker, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV has taken out a $10.1 billion revolving credit facility whose interest costs is linked to the company meeting a set of sustainability related goals. These goals will be around efficient use of water, recycling in packaging, using renewable energy and managing greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet another top researcher at Google’s AI ethics team fired

Margaret Mitchell, a top researcher at Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) team and a co-lead of ethics in the team (along with Timnit Gebru, who was also fired in December), was fired by the company. Violation of the company’s code of conduct and security policies was given as the grounds of the dismissal. Both these researchers had spoken out in favor of more diversity among the research staff.

Private Equity firm Carlyle Group takes steps to promote board diversity and good governance

Carlyle Group is planning to launch a credit line worth $4.1 billion for companies in its portfolio. However, the facility’s interest rate is linked to the diversity on the company’s board. The firm targets to have a 30 per cent diversity rate on the boards of its portfolio companies.

McDonald’s to use diversity goal achievements in calculating executive bonus payouts from 2021

Fast food chain operator, McDonald’s has announced a set of measures in order to promote diversity within the organization. From 2021, achievement of diversity goals will be taken into account when calculating executive bonuses. The company wants to increase the number of executives in the US from underrepresented groups to 35 per cent by 2030 and to increase the number of women at senior director level or above to 45 per cent.

Indian automotive major, Ashok Leyland is betting on solar power to reduce carbon footprint

India based automobile company, Ashok Leyland will be procuring 60% of its energy requirements across India from solar and wind-based energy sources, after the commissioning of its captive solar plant recently. This will enable the company to reduce its carbon emissions by 85,000 tonnes per year.

Solar power ambitions in Iraq take shape

Iraq plans to produce 10 gigawatts of solar power by the end of 2030 and as a part of the plan, the government has awarded seven projects to produce solar power. These projects will have a capacity to generate 750 megawatts of solar power.  

Also, in the recent news..

Origin Materials, a net negative carbon material maker to go public through the SPAC route; Ariel Investments plans to set up an investment arm in collaboration with JP Morgan to fund minority owned businesses across the US. Also, Texas power grids struggled to meet the high demand arising from the winter storm just go on to show how extreme weather incidents due to climate change can impact human life.