As part of its Diageo Sustainable Solutions programme, the big brands drinks company has committed to new pilot schemes in east Africa, working with farmers to develop agricultural methods that improve water quality, promote biodiversity and enhance soils. Diageo has committed £450,000 initially for the pilot projects, but the company says that it plans to roll the programme out to smallholder farmers across Africa and Asia.
Diageo Sustainable Solutions was initially launched in 2020 as part of the company’s sustainability strategy based on alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, including net-zero operational emissions, and a 50% cut in scope 3 supply chain emissions, by 2030.
Qatar labour risks remain
Big brand sponsors of the football World Cup coming up in November in the tiny desert country of Qatar will be fully aware of potential reputational risks being associated with a state with a bad reputation on human rights. Following a rare protest from migrant workers reports emerged that more than 60 have been deported. The workers were complaining about not being paid, some for up to seven months, by the Al Bandary International Group, which is primarily a construction and engineering business.
Whether or not the deported workers were involved in World Cup related construction is unclear, but since the tournament was awarded to the Gulf state in 2010 there have been a string of allegations and reports about the treatment of migrant workers brought in to build the new stadiums and associated infrastructure necessary to host the biggest sporting event on the planet.
No ESG in Florida
In the US state of Florida, the governor, Ron DeSantis, has passed legislation that prevents fund managers for the state’s $228bn pension funds from taking into account ESG screening in investment processes. Instead, decisions must be based only on financial factors. The resolution explicitly refers to the Biden Administration’s clear intentions to encourage ESG investment as part of the reasoning behind its anti-ESG rules.
DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has stressed his opposition to ESG-based investment policies calling them an attempt to impose, through the economy, an ideological agenda, vowing that in Florida ESG is dead in the water.
Upmarket UK department store chain Selfridges is planning on having 45% of its transactions as resale, repair, rental or refill by the end of the decade. The move is part of a response, Selfridges says, to customer demand for more sustainable shopping. The chain says that sales of second-hand goods increased by 240% in 2021, with a parallel growth in item repairs, product rental and refill.
The ReSelfridges initiative is part of Selfridges’ net zero Project Earth plan, which it describes as its vision to reinvent retail, based on three themes of driving transition to more sustainable materials, exploring new business models and challenging the mindsets of partners and customers. Selfridges has recently been bought for an estimated £4bn by Thai conglomerate Central Group and Australian property business Signa Holding.