Signal of change / WHO calls Coronavirus the first massive ‘infodemic’

The World Health Organization warned on 2 February that the 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’, defined as "an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”. What can we learn from the epidemic to strike a better balance between emergency public health warnings and the need to protect and strengthen social cohesion in times of crisis? Read more

Signal of change / Alibaba makes RNB 20 billion available in loans to Chinese companies hit by coronavirus

MYBank, part of the Alibaba Group Holdings affiliate Ant Financial, has responded to the COVID-19 outbreak by announcing RNB 20 billion in loans to Chinese companies, of which 50% is ring fenced for firms in Hubei province, where the virus originated. The move prompts the question, what does it mean to be a responsible business in a time of uncertainty and volatility? Read more

Signal of change / Kickstarter employees vote to form a union

In a first for the technology industry, Kickstarter’s full-time employees have voted under the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. The workers are calling for a healthier power structure enabling greater participation in critical decisions, and changes in how the company addresses gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The move follows 18 months of internal organising which saw two employees fired and two others leave, reporting an intimidating working environment. Read more

Signal of change / Florida buys wetlands to prevent oil drilling

The state of Florida has purchased 20,000 acres of the Everglades, a wetlands conservation area, to save it from oil drilling. Not only will public ownership of the land prevent oil drilling indefinitely, it will also protect more than 60 endangered and threatened species and a source of drinking water for millions of people. Read more

Signal of change / First sustainability professional becomes CEO of H&M

Fast fashion giant H&M has appointed Helena Helmersson, who worked for more than five years in its sustainability team, as its CEO. Helmersson is the first sustainability professional, as well as the first woman, to lead the group, having also worked as its Global Head of Production and Chief Operating Officer. Read more

Signal of change / There was no commercial whaling in 2019 in Iceland

In 2019, two Icelandic whaling businesses - Hvalur and the Icelandic Minke Whalers Association - announced they wouldn’t hunt fin whales that year. Japan also ceased its Antarctic whaling program in 2019, reducing demand for Icelandic whale meat.  While most nations have supported a commercial whaling ban since 1986, Iceland, Norway and Japan have been exceptions. Is appetite for whale meat finally coming to an end? Read more

Signal of change / First programming language in classical Chinese attracts coders

The world's first programming language written in classical Chinese, wenyan-lang, is attracting a community of enthusiastic coders, producing dozens of new programs in the language’s first months. Read more

Our temporary home for THE FUTURES CENTRE

We are working on a new Futures Centre website, which will launch in early June 2020. Until that time, the site will be closed. In the meantime, you can submit signals of change and view newly submitted signal content here. Read more

Signal of change / US feed growers offered systemic support to transition to regenerative practices

The Boston-heaquartered ag-tech company Indigo Agriculture aims to support feed and grain crop producers in the US to transition to the use of regenerative practices, using a systems approach that aims to support profitability, environmental sustainability and consumer health. Read more

Signal of change / Tata Steel's new HR policy grants equal benefits to LGBTQ+ employees

Indian multinational Tata Steel has introduced a new Diversity and Inclusion policy that enables all LGBTQ+ employees and their partners to access all HR benefits available under Indian law, including health check-ups, access to medical facilities, adoption leave, honeymoon packages, new-born parent and child care leave, and inclusion in the employee assistance programme (EAP). Read more

Signal of change / 81% of companies predict a rise in workforce activism

A survey of 375 C-suite executives - at companies with more than 1,000 employees and upwards of £250 million in annual sales volume - across the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, found that 81% anticipate a rise in workforce activism in the next three to five years. Read more

Signal of change / New Zealand launches HIV positive sperm bank

New Zealand has launched 'Sperm Positive', the world's first HIV positive sperm bank, in an endeavour to reduce stigma associated with the virus and educate people about HIV transmission. Read more