20 Aug DISCLOSURE: THE BHP & WOODSIDE DEAL; COMPANIES SHOULD TRACK CONSUMER UNDERSTANDING OF NET ZERO
Welcome to this week’s business and media intelligence update.
DISCLOSURE: WHAT THE MEDIA SAY ABOUT THE BHP & WOODSIDE DEAL
At 7:24 pm on 15 August, The Australian tentatively broke the news that Woodside Petroleum and BHP would be merging their oil and gas businesses to create a $41 billion global energy company. Well, sort of.
In its coverage, The Australian cited unnamed sources who said that both BHP and Woodside would provide more detail on the transaction during their respective earnings calls this week.
On the morning of 16 August, BHP issued its own ASX statement, which you can read here. In its statement, BHP said the Group “regularly reviews its portfolio of assets in order to seek opportunities to maximise long-term shareholder value”, confirming that one option being considered was a “potential merger” with Woodside – but no agreement “has been reached on any such transaction”.
Just 24 hours later, BHP issued another statement, announcing the merger with Woodside to create a “global energy company”. You can read that statement here.
Which raises the question: When should companies disclose that a transaction is complete, or very close to being completed?
Did BHP and Woodside mislead the market? Well, some at The Australian certainly thinks so, with veteran columnist Terry McCrann calling for both companies to be hauled over the coals (geddit, geddit?).
Follow the links and decide for yourself.
WHY COMPANIES SHOULD TRACK CONSUMER UNDERSTANDING OF NET ZERO
A new survey by the Nature Research consultancy reveals that consumers have a limited understanding of net zero emissions.
The survey found that only 11 per cent of consumers said they had a sound understanding of the term “net zero emissions”, with 40 per cent stating they had a vague understanding. Another 35 per cent had only heard of the term. It seems consumers are more likely to be familiar with terms such as “carbon neutral” and sustainably sourced”.
Does it matter? Well, yes. The data further suggests that as consumer’s awareness of the recent net zero emissions debates increases, they are more likely to place pressure on companies to be more environmentally conscious. More than half of consumers with knowledge and understanding of “net zero” said they would stop using a business if it was not operating sustainably.
Read more about the survey here.
QANTAS, SPC LEAD THE CORPORATE CHARGE ON VACCINATIONS
As the debate over mandatory vaccinations in Australian workplaces intensifies, Qantas announced on Wednesday that it will require all its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The announcement followed a survey of the company’s 12,000 employees which found that 89 per cent had already been vaccinated or planned to be, while 75 per cent agreed mandatory vaccines should be a requirement. Only four per cent of staff were unwilling or unable to get vaccinated.
Qantas’ comments follow hot on the heels of SPC, who this week mandated that all its employees would have to be vaccinated. The food manufacturer has faced a barrage of online and offline threats as a result of its vaccination policy, but the company is refusing to back down, saying that it could not afford to jeopardise the safety of its workplaces, or the town of Shepperton, where the bulk of its production facilities are based.
SPC and Qantas join the ranks of US companies such as Microsoft, Google and Delta airlines, all of whom are requiring their staff to be vaccinated, but the policies remain contentious in Australia as the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions are already at odds over whether or not companies should mandate vaccines.
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