View in Browser


Sharon Kimathi
Energy and ESG Editor, Reuters Digital


The May 1 Labor Day seems to have lived up to its name this year! In the United States, we had the Supreme Court determining that highly paid workers are entitled to overtime pay. Over in the United Arab Emirates foreign workers at Deliveroo, outraged at proposed pay cuts and more working hours, took to the streets in rare strike action there – and appear to have secured some of the desired effect.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether a supervisor of offshore oil rig workers is entitled to overtime pay under federal law, even though he earns more than $200,000 a year, with potentially costly implications for the oil and gas industry and other employers.

The justices granted a writ to Helix Energy Solutions Group, which says the employee, Michael Hewitt, qualifies as a "highly compensated executive" who is exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Over in the Middle East, social media posts on Sunday showed large groups of delivery drivers in teal-colored Deliveroo uniforms striking in Dubai against pay cuts and extended working hours. A Deliveroo rider told Reuters the strike action was taken after the company sought to cut wages by about 15% to 8.75 dirhams ($2.38) an hour and extend shifts by three hours to 12.

The Amazon-backed company said in an email to restaurants, seen by Reuters, that it had paused proposed changes in its rider pay structure and that it would engage with its riders over the weeks and months ahead.

Speaking of Amazon, the giant online retailer will end its paid time-off policy for employees with COVID-19 from May 2, the company told U.S.-based staff on Saturday. The change follows the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and revised guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it said.

Amazon also told its staff on Monday it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for non-life threatening medical treatments including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters.

Talking Points

A multitude of the new euro currency symbols are projected on the walls of the Paris Bourse (stock exchange) during a gala evening to mark the first day of trading in the new European currency./File Photo
Sales of Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds in Europe could total 1.6 trillion euros ($1.68 trillion) by 2026, making up almost half of all new bond issuance in the region, according to a new report released on Tuesday.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged 10 billion euros ($10.51 billion) to help India achieve its climate goals after meeting its Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin on Monday, but the leaders remained far apart in their stance on the Ukraine war.
Black farmers in the United States lost roughly $326 billion worth of acreage during the 20th century, according to the first study to quantify the present-day value of that loss.
Berkshire Hathaway shareholders rejected proposals to have an independent chair replace Warren Buffett and require his company to disclose more about its climate-related risks and efforts to improve diversity.
Breakingviews: Glencore CEO Gary Nagle’s climate credibility is under attack. Nearly a quarter of shareholders voted on Thursday against the 64 billion pound mining giant’s plans for reducing carbon emissions, mainly by gradually shutting coal mines up to 2050.

In Conversation

Scott Corfe, research director at the Social Market Foundation, an independent British think-tank
“Financial services will be key for delivering on net zero and green finance could be one of Britain’s great economic success stories in the 2020s. Already 200,000 financial services workers are in green jobs – a number that will undoubtedly grow over the coming years.

“Government needs to work in partnership with the financial services industry to make Britain the leading hub of sustainability-linked finance.

“Leading by example, the Chancellor should issue a new generation of sustainability-linked government bonds which would tie interest payments to the country’s net zero targets.

"Not only would this support green financial services, but the prospect of financial penalties for missing net zero targets would strengthen the government’s commitment to decarbonization.”

ESG Lens

Clarity AI is a sustainability technology platform that uses machine learning and big data to deliver ESG insights to investors and organizations.
When using each nation’s respective major stock index as a proxy, France scores well against other large-GDP European nations in Clarity AI’s ESG Impact framework.

Clarity AI’s ESG Impact Score measures how a company’s operations affect the environment and society, calculated by aggregating a company’s impact on ESG challenges and comparing it to the impacts of all other companies in the Clarity AI platform.

ESG Movers and Shakers

EY has appointed David Rochester as a director in its general insurance sustainable finance team, responding to growing market demand for advice and expertise across ESG factors.

David brings over 29 years' experience in the general insurance (GI) industry to his new role. His previous roles have included head of underwriting and GI chief actuary at Lloyds Banking Group, in addition to being a member of the ABI Property Steering Group for over a decade which was instrumental in setting up the Flood Re scheme.
Suma Swaminathan has been promoted to the position of director at the private equity team in the Developing World Markets (DWM), a U.S.-based investment manager.
Swaminathan has been the firm's champion for the Displaced Communities Fund (DCF) and has a tremendous command of social impact topics, including financial inclusion, gender equity, displaced communities, and microfinance. She joined DWM’s private equity team in 2017 and has overseen the Asia-Africa region.
Global law firm Hogan Lovells has appointed Paul Akehurst as the firm’s new head of sustainability. He has over 35 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors developing sustainability strategies.

Akehurst joins Hogan Lovells from global real-estate firm JLL, where he was a regional operations lead for energy and sustainability services.

Quote of the Day

"We need a carbon tax policy and transition framework to incentivise net-zero funds, financial and tax incentives for pension schemes to invest in infrastructure funds, and to take the global lead in the space of sustainability-linked bonds, all while not compromising the balance-sheet of banks. Partnerships between government, financial services, industry and leading universities, fostering centers of excellence, will be essential for reaching net zero.”
Raúl Rosales, senior executive fellow at Imperial College Business School’s Centre for Climate Finance and Investment

Looking Ahead

The ‘Flame’ energy conference will be taking place on May 3-4 in Amsterdam. The event gathers representatives of gas and liquified natural gas (LNG) producers, traders and other stakeholders with security of Europe's energy supply a key topic on the agenda.
Photovoltaics systems maker Solarwatt, which partnered with BMW last year to tap into power battery module synergies, will announce a new partnership with a German home technology and heat company on May 4.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization will release on May 5 its latest monthly global food price index, which has spiked higher in recent months.
The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates on May 5 as it moves faster than other central banks to tackle the surging price growth that they once described as transitory.
Future of Health
Africa's first COVID-19 vaccination plant, touted last year as a trailblazer for an under-vaccinated continent frustrated by sluggish Western handouts, risks shutting down after receiving not a single order, a company executive said on Saturday.

South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare negotiated a licensing deal in November to package and sell Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine and distribute it across Africa.

We think you may like these:

Reuters Daily Briefing

All the news you need to start your weekdays.


A weekday digest of breaking business news, coverage of the U.S. economy, major corporate news and the financial markets.