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Companies without climate plans will be banned from London Stock Exchange, Labour Party says
The campaign promise could only become law if the Labour Party wins the general election in December.
Photo credit: SOPA Images / Getty
- Shadow chancellor John McDonnell didn't provide specific requirements companies would have to meet, but said climate would be the Labour Party's "overriding priority" if it wins the election.
- The center-left Labour Party hopes to bring the U.K.'s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
- The London Stock Exchange currently lists some of the world's largest oil and gas companies.
Companies that fail to "pull their weight" to meet environmental standards could risk being delisted from the London Stock Exchange, according to a radical policy proposal from the U.K.'s Labour party.
The proposal is currently a campaign promise that could only become law if the center-left Labour Party wins the general election on December 12. Led by Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is the second biggest political party in the House of Commons.
At a business event this week in London, shadow chancellor John McDonnell vowed his government would ensure listed companies are "pulling their weight" to tackle the "existential threat" of climate change, which would be the party's "overriding priority" if it wins the election.
"If we are to meet the climate change target to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, we need to ensure that companies are pulling their weight alongside government," he said.
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An ambiguous proposal
McDonnell didn't offer specific requirements that companies would have to meet.
"It will be for, basically, those companies themselves to bring forward their proposals and plans - exactly what sort of proposals they'll be, how effective they'll be," he told the PA news agency. "And then during the listing process, they'll be assessed about how successful they are either performing or how successful their plans will be. On that basis, just as with the rest of the code that there is, they'll then be assessed and determined if they can be listed."
McDonnell said some business leaders support the proposal: "Business bodies are calling for companies to improve climate related financial reporting and for all companies to bring forward decarbonization plans."
However, the London Stock Exchange currently lists some of the world's largest natural resource companies, and it's unclear how they'd react to stricter environmental standards.
Labour's push toward a green economy
In May, McDonnell told The Guardian about his proposal to delist companies from the stock exchange, saying his party aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
"It's not about threatening or penalizing, it's saying here's the steps we need to take to save the planet, it's as simple as that," he said. "There's a sweeping understanding, right the way across, that our administration has to tackle this issue in a way that no one else is taking that seriously."
In July, oil and gas companies listed on the London Stock Exchange were reclassified under a non-renewable energy category, a move that aimed to provide "greater visibility to other forms of energy such as renewables," according to Susan Quintin, the managing director of product management at FTSE Russell.
McDonnell also described other Labour proposals this week, including putting employees and elected members on company boards, increasing employee ownership of companies, and installing a cap of 20 times the living wage on public sector chief executives' pay.
Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.
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A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.
- A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
- He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
- The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Depiction of cannibalism in the Medieval ages.
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President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>