Consumers adapt to online life as millions are confined to homes

Consumer behaviour has shifted online in many areas of the world as social distancing restrictions mean billions of people are confined to their homes for the majority of the day. Read more

Universal Basic Income to become new-normal in Western nations?

Unprecedented citizen bailout measures have been taken by governments, but uncertainty around timeframes leaves room for long-lasting change. Read more

Businesses rapidly repurpose as normal consumption patterns slump and demand for medical supplies spikes

Businesses are switching production from business-as-usual to assist in the Covid-19 response effort. Read more

Deforestation and biodiversity degradation exposed as key public health issue

The links between deforestation and the emergence of novel pandemics are being highlighted by researchers. Read more

Signal of change / French law bans disposal of unsold goods

France has passed a law banning the disposal of unsold goods, a move the French Government claims is a world first. Instead of being burned or scrapped, unsold items must be reused, redistributed or recycled. Read more

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