24 Sep CLIMATE WARS – INVESTORS REVOLT; FINALLY! A DIVERSITY MILESTONE!
Welcome to this week’s business and media intelligence update.
CLIMATE WARS – INVESTORS REVOLT
One of Australia’s oldest and most iconic brands, AGL, this week faced an open revolt from its shareholders, with 55 per cent of investors demanding that the energy giant set clear decarbonisation goals ahead of the UN Climate Conference, which is set to be held in Glasgow later on this year.
Chairman Peter Botten refused to budge, urging investors to vote down the climate resolution, and calling for policy and investment settings to create the right incentives for companies.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reported, the support for the resolution at the meeting was the biggest vote ever recorded for a climate-focused shareholder push in corporate Australia without board support.
Coal-fired power plants make up 70 per cent of AGL’s Eastern power grid, and the company already has plans to hive off its coal and gas producing power plants. Comprising eight per cent of its operations, the “polluting” part of the portfolio is to be split into a separate entity, to be called Accel Energy.
The resolution is non-binding, and you can read more about it here.
GUESS WHO’S THE WORLD LEADER IN EMPLOYEE SURVEILLANCE?
If you said Australia, you’d be correct. 👀
A survey by legal firm Herbert Smith Freehills found that a whopping 90 per cent of Australian companies are using spyware to keep an eye on their employees while they work from home. That’s a higher percentage than in any other region in the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
In fact, spying on employees is such a common practice that the survey found the majority of employers considered it to be a bigger point of worker contention than salaries or vaccine status.
How’s that for Surprising Fact of the Day?
Read more about it (but not from your work computer) here.
FINALLY! A DIVERSITY MILESTONE!
It’s not all bad news though – Australia has just hit a key diversity milestone.
According to the Australian Institute of Company Director (AICD), there are now no all-male boards on the ASX 200.
The percentage of female board directorships has been increasing since 2015, with the AICD’s latest report revealing that women now make up 33.7 per cent of board roles on the ASX 200 and 32.1 per cent of the top 300 companies.
There is, however, room for improvement.
On the ASX 200, there are 74 boards that have not achieved the 30 per cent target for female participation – and 22 boards among the top 200 have just one woman director.
Read more about AICD’s report here.
BELINDA TASKER JOINS CANNINGS
Cannings is pleased to welcome Belinda Tasker as an Associate Director. A highly experienced journalist and media advisor who’s spent two decades working in Australia and overseas, Belinda is a former Finance Editor at Australian Associated Press. She also worked in the Canberra Press Gallery, was a medical writer, and headed AAP’s London Bureau. After a stint with NSW Health as a media advisor, Belinda was until recently a senior content producer at ABC Radio.
Read Belinda’s full bio here.
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