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Weekly News Roundup: Amazon Workers Strike on Prime Day, Big Companies Fail to Report Deforestation Role

Amazon workers strike on Prime Day

Thousands of Amazon employees went on strike around the world during its annual Prime Day Sale, a two-day period when thousands of items on the ecommerce site are available for limited discounts to Prime service members. According to unions in Germany, 2,000 people were on strike, while in the United States, a Minnesota fulfillment center planned a six-hour stoppage. Week-long protests are also planned in the United Kingdom. Workers are demanding better pay and conditions, with one claiming that he has to pick an item about every eight seconds for a 10-hour workday. Workers will also be demonstrating in Spain and Poland.

Big companies fail to report deforestation role

Many large companies are neglecting to report the damage their operations are doing to forests despite their commitment to lessen their effects on climate change. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a charity that works with institutional investors holdings assets of US$96 trillion, said 70 percent of 1,500 large companies failed to provide sufficient data regarding the corporate response to deforestation. Global director Morgan Gillespy said that consumers were reassured that their household items aren’t contributing to the destruction of rain forests, extinction of species, or the overall climate crisis. Since 2014, CDP has asked companies to report on how their operations affected timber, palm oil, cattle, and soy farming, as a way to recognize the invaluable role forests play in preserving species and climate stabilization. 

China’s economy experiencing slowest growth in 30 years

China’s economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly 30 years as the trade war with the United States took a tool in exports. However, Beijing was able to avoid a much deeper slowdown as citizens showed a resilience with domestic consumption. The country’s GDP grew at 6.2 percent year after year, the slowest since the National Bureau of Statistics began calculating its current series of data in 1992. China also reported 6.4 percent in the first quarter and 6.6 percent for all of 2018. The economic softening comes as both China and the United States have threatened and imposed levies on each other’s goods even though a truce was agreed to at the recent G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

Planned blackouts create opportunity for competitors

In an attempt to limit the wildfire risk in parts of California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has a plan to preemptively turn off power in certain areas, but by doing so they are also creating business opportunities for alternative energy companies. Companies like Tesla Inc. and Bloom Energy Corp. are targeting customers in Northern California with highlights of their clean energy technology. PG&E stated it would selectively shut down power in an area home to 5.4 million people for up to five days when hot, dry winds sweep its service territory, raising the risk of its power lines sparking fires. This comes after state investigators connected the company’s equipment to 19 major wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Tesla and Bloom Energy, along with solar panel company Sunrun Inc. anticipate a steady increase in the adoption of their alternative energy products, creating an uptick in the purchase of solar panels, battery systems, and fuel cells.

Walmart Settles Bribery Investigation

Walmart agreed to pay more than US$282 million to settle bribery investigations brought about by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to operate a sufficient anti-corruption compliance program for over a decade as the retailer underwent rapid international expansion. Countries such as Brazil, China, India, and Mexico, all Walmart subsidiaries, were allowed to employ third-party intermediaries to make payments to foreign government officials without assurances that they even complied with the FCPA. Walmart will pay more than US$144 million to settle the SEC charges, and US$138 million to resolve criminal charges brought by the DOJ.


About the Author

Scott Sharon is a freelance writer who has contributed to Conducive Chronicle and World Policy Journal.

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