This week’s news in brief

first_img Comments are closed. This week’s news in briefOn 4 Jul 2006 in Personnel Today Additional contributionsSix out of 10 UK employers have made ‘special’ additional pension contributions to help plug their scheme deficits in the past year, research has revealed. The main reason for extra contributions, cited by 30% of the FTSE 100 companies surveyed, was to cover shortfalls in their pension schemes. www.personneltoday.com/36091.articleGloomy health service staffHealth service workers are the gloomiest in the public sector, according to the findings of a bi-annual survey of 1,000 workers by Mori and the Work Foundation. Less than half of health service workers (48%) believe that ‘senior management have a clear vision of where the organisation is going’. By contrast, 67% of people who work in the education sector agree with the statement. www.personneltoday.com/36084.articleManaging the workforceBuilding and home improvement retail group Travis Perkins hopes to cut costs and boost productivity with the implementation of a new workforce management system for its 15,000 UK staff. The company, which has more than 800 Travis Perkins outlets and 178 Wickes stores, has signed a contract with WorkPlace Systems for the use of the supplier’s labour budgeting, forecasting, scheduling, and time and attendance software modules. www.personneltoday.com/36085.article Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Essex independent estate agency latest to take refuge in franchised brand

first_imgAn independent sales and letting estate agency in Essex is the latest to rebrand its business and join the Winkworth network, which now stands at over 100 branches across the UK.Think Property in Leigh-on-Sea has been trading for nine years but has now moved over to Winkworth including a new livery for its branch on Leigh Road.The business, which was established by Mark Newman in 2010 after a ten-year career in property in the region, will retain all its existing staff.One of his key reasons for moving the estate agency over to Winkworth is to keep up with the huge increase in legislation and regulation faced by the industry and to be “prepared for any changes in the market”.“We firmly believe that many independents could struggle to do this but, with Winkworth’s backing teamed with the reputation we have built in the area over the years, we are confident that we can now take our business to the next level,” he says.“Having spent a lot of time getting to know the team at Winkworth Franchising, we felt that this was the best next step to secure the success and longevity of our business.”Dominic Agace, Winkworth’s CEO (left), says: “It’s widely known that franchising is one of the most resilient business models, and this announcement proves that point.“At a time when the industry is adjusting to changes in regulation, and with much uncertainty in the market, we’re able to help smaller independents thrive whilst continuing to grow and develop our network.”Leigh-on-Sea was named the ‘happiest place to live’ in the UK by Rightmove last year following a survey of 21,000 people.leigh on sea Mark newman Essex winkworth April 9, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Essex independent estate agency latest to take refuge in franchised brand previous nextAgencies & PeopleEssex independent estate agency latest to take refuge in franchised brandThink Property in Leigh-on-Sea has rebranded to Winkworth and says legislative onslaught and uncertain market conditions persuaded it to move over.Nigel Lewis9th April 20190989 Viewslast_img read more

Holcomb Statement on Cease and Desist Letters

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare STATE OF INDIANAOFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR State House, Second Floor Indianapolis, Indiana 46204CEASE & DESIST LETTERRevealAttn: D. Victoria Baranetsky, General Counsel 1400 65th Street, Suite 200Emeryville, California 94608 [email protected] Reveal and Mr. Evans: Letter to Reveal and Will Evans Page 2I note that you were told multiple times before you published the article, by both our office and the Indiana Department of Labor (“IDOL”), that this allegation was false, yet you published it anyway. These clear and unequivocal denials should have been red flags for you, causing you to prudently pause to re-evaluate whether Mr. Stallone was being truthful.You have produced nothing else, as shown by your reporting, to support Mr. Stallone’s sensational claim. Before publishing your article, what probing questions, if any, did you ask Mr. Stallone in an effort to verify his claim? For example, did you ask Mr. Stallone to identify other IDOL employees who would have, or should have, seen Governor Holcomb at IDOL’s offices (where he claims this meeting occurred) so you could talk with them about this? When a high-profile, well-known figure like a governor of a state walks into a state government office, people notice and remember it. Did you ask Mr. Stallone to identify fellow employees or others that he told about this purported meeting so that you could talk with them in order to verify it? Mr. Stallone would be a truly rare person if he was pressured by a governor, as he alleged, and yet didn’t tell anyone else about it.In addition, I note your article, when talking about the alleged meeting with Governor Holcomb, says that it occurred “[s]ome days after the conference call with Amazon officials.” Nowhere do you say precisely when this meeting supposedly occurred. You seem to have no problem citing precise dates for other key events in your story, but you don’t cite the time or date of the meeting in question. If Mr. Stallone did not, or could not, give you a precise time and date of that meeting, that is yet another red flag that should have caused you concern, as it is hard to believe anyone would forget exactly when such a remarkable meeting occurred. I note that our office has asked you for the specific time and date that Mr. Stallone claims this meeting occurred so we can further prove our denials by showing where Governor Holcomb was at that time (for example, the governor might have been giving a speech or been out of the State at the time), but all you’ve given us, in response, is a vague approximation of the time of the alleged meeting as being somewhere between November 20–December 6.2. Mr. Stallone claims that he resigned. The truth is that he was fired for poor work performance that began long before the tragic death of Mr. Terry. Why is that important? Because it’s not unusual for people who have been fired to harbor ill will toward their former employers, and some even look for ways to get even. The fact that he was fired calls into question Mr. Stallone’s credibility, motivations and bias – something you apparently didn’texplore despite the red flags mentioned above. Had you investigated Mr. Stallone’s employment history and status with the State, either by asking him to provide you with his personnel file or requesting the publicly-available information about him from the Indiana State Personnel Department, you would have learned of his firing and could have taken that into proper consideration before publishing your article.3. Mr. Stallone claims he wanted to issue eight safety citations. In conversations with the Indiana Department of Labor (“IDOL”) before publication of your article, you stated that Mr. Stallone claimed he wanted eight citations and received pushback from his superior over Gov. Eric Holcomb discusses the plans for improvement that DCS will undergo.Photo by Brynna Sentel, TheStatehouseFile.com Governor Holcomb Statement on Cease and Desist LettersINDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement after his General Counsel Joe Heerens sent the attached cease and desist letters to “Reveal” and the “Indianapolis Star.”“While filing a cease and desist letter is an unusual step to take, I’m compelled to do so. I will not let the false accusations about Indiana state employees and me stand, as first published by California-based Reveal and followed soon thereafter by the Indianapolis Star. Unfortunately, other news organizations in our state have either published the same story in its entirety or other versions unchecked for truth and accuracy, further perpetuating a false narrative.   “We have worked hard over the years in Indiana to create an environment for our citizens, state employees, and businesses based on accountability and fairness, where the rules are fairly applied to all based in truth. “There are many good, tough, and thorough reporters in the Fourth Estate who seek to educate by way of the truth.  Unfortunately, when Reveal and the Indy Star worked in conjunction to publish a false story, it tarnishes journalistic integrity across the board and the public loses faith in where they get their news.page1image50462928 November 29, 2019Will Evans, ReporterReveal1400 65th Street, Suite 200 Emeryville, California 94608 [email protected] Letter to Reveal and Will Evans Page 3the number. Yet the documents provided to you by IDOL – which were handwritten by Mr. Stallone himself at the time he left the Amazon facility just two days after the death – show he listed only four citations. Those same four violations were actually filed against Amazon after the required internal review at IDOL. This discrepancy also casts further doubt on Mr. Stallone’s credibility.4. Failure to explain the requirements of Indiana law. The law of our state requires the IDOL to confer and negotiate with businesses in order to resolve safety issues and violations. See Ind. Code ch. 22-8-1.1. Thus, contrary to the insinuation in your article that the call between Indiana’s OSHA Director and Amazon officials was suspect and out of the ordinary, the truth is that a review, which routinely includes conferring and negotiating with the business in question, was required under Indiana law. Clearly, this was something that your source, Mr. Stallone, knew as an IOSHA Inspector, and that can be easily ascertained by looking at Indiana law. But your reporting failed to discuss the requirements of Indiana law and how they apply to this case.The allegations in your story about Governor Holcomb are completely and utterly false. Your source, Mr. Stallone, is not credible. Your story has serious inaccuracies and falsehoods.In light of the foregoing, we hereby demand and direct that you take immediate action to retract and correct all the false and misleading statements in your article. Additionally, you must also cease and desist from publishing this article as currently written, take steps to retract it, and issue an apology to Governor Holcomb.Your prompt attention to this matter is requested and required. Sincerely,Joseph R. Heerens General Counsel page1image65148928 page1image65154112 page1image65154304 On behalf of Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, you are hereby directed to take action immediately to retract and correct all of the false and misleading statements in the article that you published entitled: Crippled backs, a crushing death: Investigation reveals cost of Amazon Prime for workers. Additionally, you must also cease and desist from publishing this article as currently written, take steps to retract it, and issue an apology to Governor Holcomb.The tragic death of Amazon worker, Mr. Phillip Terry, should not have been exploited by this writer and published. Your source for the portion of the story applicable to the State of Indiana, Mr. John Stallone (an IOSHA Inspector), isn’t credible, something you could have ascertained before publishing it. Your story seeks to unjustifiably and inexcusably harm the good name and reputation of Governor Holcomb through false accusations.Defamation of a public official, under Indiana law, can be established upon a showing of actual malice, meaning that the defendant either knew the statement was false or recklessly disregarded whether or not it was true. See Journal-Gazette Co. v. Bandido’s, Inc., 712 N.E.2d 446 (Ind. 1999). See also New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964).Mr. Stallone made at least three misrepresentations that we know of, as follows:  His claim about having a meeting with Governor Holcomb is false.  His claim about resigning is false. The truth is he was fired for poor job performance.  His claim about wanting to issue more safety citations is false.The following paragraphs provide further elaboration on these misrepresentations and why Mr. Stallone isn’t a credible source, as well as some additional concerns about your article:1. Mr. Stallone claims he met with Governor Holcomb. This never happened. No such meeting ever occurred. It’s a complete and outrageous fabrication. Governor Holcomb did not even know about this case; he has never been involved in a Department of Labor case. page1image65152768 Eric J. Holcomb Governor page1image65261888 page1image65261504 page1image65261696 page2image65243200 page2image65245120last_img read more

Health Department Updates COVID-19 Case Count

first_imgThe Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today reported 76 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing to 201 the number of Hoosiers diagnosed through ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. Four Hoosiers have died.A total of 661 results were reported, bringing to 1,494 the number of tests reported to ISDH to date.The new cases involve residents of Bartholomew (4), Boone (1), Delaware (1), Dubois (1), Floyd (1), Franklin (2), Grant (1), Hamilton (8), Hancock (2), Hendricks (2), Howard (1), Johnson (5), Lake (3), Madison (1), Marion (35), Monroe (1) Morgan (1), Putnam (1), Ripley (1), St. Joseph (2), Scott (1) and Tipton (1) counties. The list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence. Private lab reporting may be delayed and will be reflected in the map and count when results are received at ISDH.The dashboard has also been updated to remove a negative case that was incorrectly reported to ISDH as positive from Greene County and to reflect a change in residence that moves one case from Hancock County to Marion County.Additional updates on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak may be provided later today. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip Announce Additional Late Summer Tour Dates

first_imgJimmy Herring, the exceptional guitarist of Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Dead, Jazz Is Dead and more, has just announced a new project—Jimmy Herring and The Invisible Whip—that will see him touring the country during the late summer. The project is rounded out by former Aquarium Rescue Unit drummer Jeff Sipe, in addition to Jason Crosby on Wurlitzer and Rhodes, Kevin Scott on bass, and Matt Slocum on B3 Organ and clavinet.Jimmy Herring and The Invisible Whip have about announced about a dozen new dates sprinkled across July through to September thus far. The tour kicks off in Memphis on July 19th with a performance at Minglewood Hall. From there, Herring and The Invisible Whip will continue to wind their way throughout the south, with stops in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina through to the end of July. Come August, the group has stops slated for Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, eventually ending their solo tour with two nights at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado.This independent tour in the late summer will serve as a warm-up for when the group will join up with John McLaughlin for their joint Meeting Of The Spirits tour in September, which will see McLaughlin perform music from his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Each stop on The Meeting Of The Spirits tour will see the two legendary guitarists, Herring and McLaughlin, and their respective ensembles perform two separate sets, then come together for a collaborative, improvised encore.[Photo: Dave Vann]Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip Late Summer Tour7/19/17 Memphis, TN, Minglewood Hall7/20/17 Jackson, MS, Duling Hall7/21/17, Jackson, MS, Duling Hall7/25/17, Birmingham, AL, The WorkPlay Theatre7/26/17 Athens, GA, Georgia Theatre7/28/17 Asheville, NC, Isis Restaurant & Music Hall8/1/17 Louisville, KY, Headliners Music Hall8/2/17 Columbus, OH, Park Street Saloon8/4/17 Millvale, PA, Mr. Smalls Theatre9/8/17 Boulder, CO, Fox Theatre9/9/17 Boulder, CO, Fox TheatreJohn McLaughlin & Jimmy Herring “Meeting Of The Spirits” Tour11/1/17 Buffalo, NY, University at Buffalo Center for the Arts11/2/17 Albany, NY, The Egg11/3/17 New York, NY, Town Hall11/4/17 Port Chester, NY, Capitol Theatre11/5/17 Cranston, RI, Park Theatre/Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts11/8/17 Boston, MA, The Wilbur Theatre11/9/17 Philadelphia, PA, Keswick Theatre11/10/17 Newark, NJ, Prudential Hall,New Jersey Performance Art Centre11/11/17 Washington DC, Lincoln Theatre11/12/17 Durham, NC, Duke Performances at DPAC11/15/17 Ann Arbor, MI11/17/17 Chicago, IL, Vic Theatre11/19/17 Indianapolis, IN, Clowes Memorial-Hall-Butler University11/21/17 Nashville, TN, Schermerhorn Symphony Center-Laura Turner Concert Hall11/22/17 Atlanta, GA, Atlanta Symphony Hall11/24/17 Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre11/25/17 Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall11/27/17 New Orleans, LA, The Joy Theater11/30/17 Austin, TX, Paramount Theatre12/5/17 Seattle, WA, Moore Theatre12/6/17 Portland, OR, Revolution Hall12/8/17 San Francisco, CA, The Warfield12/9/17 Los Angeles, CA, Royce Hall-UCLAlast_img read more

UGA Student Success

first_imgI expect these freshmen will graduate from UGA and go on to great things, especially if their academic success thus far is any indictor. This year’s freshman class is the most academically qualified in the school’s 228-year history. This UGA freshman class has the highest GPA and SAT averages on record for entering freshmen. UGA’s strong retention and graduation rates, among the highest in the nation at 82 percent, signal these freshmen are well on their way to successful careers. For the past 13 years, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has set new enrollment records. The trend is echoing across colleges of agriculture at land-grant universities nationwide. More students are coming to our college because the opportunities here are stellar. Georgia agriculture has nearly twice as many jobs available as we have college graduates to fill them. Basic economics tells us high demand met with low supply will reap high prices. Our students have some of the highest placement rates and highest starting salaries of all UGA colleges. Part of that successful employment rate comes from meeting the right people along the way. Lucy Branch Reid followed her path from a peanut farm in Mitchell County to Athens, after being an active Georgia 4-H’er. Along the way she met faculty mentors from the college of agriculture who influenced her decision to study food science. Today she is director of scientific and regulatory affairs for Coca-Cola Refreshments.Working with UGA’s world-renowned turfgrass experts helped 2002 graduate Clint Tolbert land his dream job in paradise. Everyday he wakes up to a Hawaiian sunrise over the golf course he manages because those experts helped him gain specialized knowledge of island-friendly turf.Whether this freshman class follows a path to their field of dreams on a golf course or on a family farm, opportunity abounds in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The excellence and high standard these students set assure us the future is a bright. Welcome to class. Each year as a new group of freshmen shows up for the first day of class at the University of Georgia, I’m reminded of all the students who have crossed our path and now make up the rich fabric of our strong agricultural economy. Our graduates can be found in boardrooms and on ball fields, in legislatures and laboratories, classrooms, cow pastures and cotton fields all over the world.last_img read more

Georgia Pecan Crop

first_imgIrma’s destructive path blew through Georgia’s pecan crop, but the destruction could have been much worse, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.All orchards experienced some damage from the storm that moved through Georgia on Monday, Sept. 11. Nuts were blown out of trees, limbs were broken and at least a few trees fell in most orchards. Multiple growers in Georgia’s Peach and Berrien counties lost thousands of trees, Wells said.The storm knocked immature pecans to the ground, and Wells believes approximately 30 percent of this year’s crop was lost.Tift County, Georgia, pecan farmer Russ Griffin estimates that about 50 percent of his crop was lost, not including the 15 trees that fell over due to high winds. He was able to stand them back up but is unsure whether they’ll survive.He remains encouraged that his crop wasn’t a total loss.“If (Irma) would have hit as a Category 3 hurricane like they said to start with, it would have probably taken out the majority of the trees. I guess I’m just trying to look on the bright side,” Griffin said.Most of Georgia’s fallen pecan trees were between 5 and 25 years old.“A lot of these trees that were blown down were just coming into good production, which is a tough loss to take,” Wells said.This was expected to be a banner year for Georgia pecans. Wells originally believed Georgia’s pecan crop would top 110 million pounds, but after Irma, expectations are that the yield could be reduced to as low as 70 to 80 million pounds.“It is discouraging that Irma came on the best crop we ever had, but I guess you’ve got to consider it was a good crop to begin with, and there’s still a decent crop left in the trees,” Griffin said.The majority of green nuts blown to the ground were immature pecans that were not harvestable. ‘Pawnee’ pecans are the only salvageable variety as they were supposed to be harvested this week. The varieties with shucks close to splitting, like ‘Elliot,’ ‘Moneymaker’ and ‘Creek,’ could possibly be harvested and run through a deshucker machine in the cleaning plant, but farmers need to determine if that is an economically feasible option, Wells said.The more common varieties, like ‘Stuart,’ ‘Desirable’, ‘Sumner’ and ‘Cape Fear,’ are too far from maturity to consider deshucking.Wells encourages pecan farmers with crop damage to report to their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency office and expects cleanup funds to eventually be available. Producers will have to complete forms and take photos of the damage to their trees. Growers will be compensated for their losses at 75 percent of the USDA cost of a mature tree, which ranges from $300 to $200,000 total per entity. Younger trees are valued differently.Producers who lost 15 percent or more of their orchard are eligible for the tree assistance program (TAP), which pays 65 percent of the cost per tree up to a maximum of $120,000. Funds aren’t yet available as they must be appropriated by Congress.last_img read more

In Memoriam

first_img December 1, 2004 In Memoriam In Memoriam In Memoriam Roy Ellsworth Baugher II, Naples Admitted 1988; Died June 30, 2004 Francis Bayley, Tampa Admitted 1967; Died April 26, 2004 Richard J. Blumberg, New York, NY Admitted 1978; Died January 29, 2004 John F. Bolt, New Smyrna Beach Admitted 1971; Died September 8, 2004 Ira L. Dubitsky, Miami Admitted 1966; Died August 27, 2004 Richard W. Ervin, Tallahassee Admitted 1929; Died August 24, 2004 Arthur H. Gehris III, Daytona Beach Admitted 1974; Died November 27, 2002 Arnold L. Greenfield, Miami Admitted 1961; Died August13, 2004 R. R. Grieve, Seattle, WA Admitted 1951; Died July 1, 2004 Richard O. Hartley, Jr., Venice Admitted 1963; Died September 2, 2004 Ernest J. Hewett, Miami Admitted 1946; Died September 25, 2004 William Means Holt, Tampa Admitted 1963; Died July 18, 2004 William Huggett, Miami Admitted 1966; Died August 31, 2004 John Huskins, Orlando Admitted 1954; died September 5, 2004 Jerry Allen Marvin, Tampa Admitted 1983; Died July 24, 2004 Janeen Marie Jasinski, Tampa Admitted 1999; Died September 22, 2004 Shirley Zemel Kaufman, Miami Admitted 1960; Died May 13, 2004 Christopher J. Kessenich, New Port Richey Admitted 2000; Died September 30, 2003 Virgil M. McElroy, Sun City Center Admitted 1975; Died July 8, 2004 Lawrence John Miano, Boca Raton Admitted 1972; Died June 7, 2004 Fredric George Novy, Glenview, IL Admitted 1979; Died April 30, 2004 James L. O’Donnell, Sarasota Admitted 1951; Died January 18, 2004 David A. Pascoe, Ft. Walton Beach Admitted 1975; Died May 26, 2004 Samuel B. Pearlman, Miami Beach Admitted 1948; Died March 18, 2004last_img read more

From Monday, the obligatory use of the mask in shops, public transport and employees in the catering industry

first_imgSide dish: Decision on the necessary measure of mandatory use of face masks The mentioned Decision introduces the necessary measures that must be fulfilled by the organizers all gatherings with more than a hundred persons. Organizers who expect more than a hundred participants at the gathering are obliged to the County Center 112 (list of e – mail addresses of county centers 112) submit a notice of the meeting no later than 48 hours before the planned start of the meeting. Organizers who have registered a gathering in accordance with the Public Gathering Act are not required to submit this notice. Also, all organizers of gatherings with more than a hundred participants are required to keep written records of participants, so that in case it is established that one of the participants was infected with SARS – CoV-2 virus, it could more effectively prevent the spread of the disease. Control over the implementation of the Decision, as well as compliance with the recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, will be carried out by teams composed of civil protection inspectors and police officers. employees of health care institutions and persons who come to visit patients, if visits are alloweddrivers, other employees in public transport and passengers in public transportemployees in commercial activity i customers during a stay in storesemployees in catering business who come in contact with guests or participate in serving and preparing meals, drinks and beveragesand other persons who are obliged to do so by special instructions and recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health  From July 13 (Mon) is introduced obligation to necessarily use face masks or medical masks. This decision introduces a necessary measure of the obligatory use of face masks or medical masks. We emphasize that this is not a recommendation, but a mandatory measure. Yesterday, the National Civil Protection Headquarters made a decision on the “necessary measure of the obligatory use of face masks or medical masks”.center_img HZJZ: Instructions and recommendations for gatherings Read the decision in the attachment: In accordance with the current epidemiological situation, the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia today adopted Odecision on the necessary measures for the organization of gatherings attended by more than one hundred participants during the declared epidemic of the disease COVID-19. Face masks or medical masks are required to use:last_img read more

​Norway’s SWF dumps €2.6bn of climate culprits after years of delay

first_imgThis set of coal exclusions was based on the new absolute thresholds for coal companies that were added to the GPFG’s guidelines last year, taking effect on 1 September, NBIM said.“It is the first time these thresholds in the coal criterion are being applied,” the central bank arm said.Prior to the absolute limits on the amount of coal business a company could do before being blacklisted by the oil fund, the guidelines contained percentage limits.In all, the SWF had $2.8bn (€2.6bn) of equity and bond holdings in these nine companies at the end of 2019, representing some 0.24% of its portfolio at the time.The oil fund’s Council on Ethics originally recommended divesting the companies with oil sands activities back in the summer of 2017, but this advice was not acted on, the council said in its revised November 2019 recommendation, because the criterion had been open to different interpretations.“This caused Norges Bank to refrain from making a decision on this case until further clarification had been obtained,” it said.NBIM also explained why it had taken so long between the decisions to divest and the announcement that they had been carried out:“For several of the companies of which exclusion is now being made public, the market situation, including the liquidity of individual shares, has meant that it has taken a long time to sell the shares in a reasonable manner,” it said.Johan Andresen, chair of the Council on Ethics, highlighted a year ago that none of the five climate-related recommendations the council had made since the criterion was introduced in 2016 had been followed through.In a statement released today, it said that after clarification from the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in June 2019, the recommendation was reissued in the autumn “with minor adjustments relating particularly to the type of greenhouse gas emissions regime the company is subject to.”Alongside the coal-based exclusions, NBIM said it was putting BHP Group, Vistra Energy, Enel and Uniper on its observation list after judging them against this criterion.NBIM also said Egyptian company ElSewedy Electric and Brazilian mining firm Vale were being excluded for risk of contribution to severe environmental damage – the former for participation in developing a hydropower project in Tanzania, and Vale for repeated dam breaches.Meanwhile, the GPFG is divesting Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras (Eletrobras) because of risk of contribution to serious or systematic human rights violations – specifically human rights violations in connection with the development of the Belo Monte power plant in Brazil.Two companies – AECOM and Texwinca Holdings – are being brought back into the GPFG’s investment universe, NBIM said, following a decision based on Council on Ethics advice.There was no longer a basis for the 2018 exclusion of AECOM on the basis of nuclear weapons production, NBIM said, adding that Texwinca Holdings had now liquidated the subsidiary where the council had in 2019 found there to be systematic breach of factory workers’ rights.Forced labourIn other news related to the SWF, the Council on Ethics is currently looking for a firm to probe companies in the oil fund’s portfolio in case any are involved in “practices that may constitute forced labour or other forms of exploitation in working life,” according to an EU tender put out by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.The investigations should focus particularly in migrant workers, forming a basis for decisions on whether the companies’ conduct can lead to examination or exclusion from the fund, the notice said.“The investigations can be conducted in various countries, including but not limited to countries that import a large proportion of migrant workers, such as the Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia) and Malaysia, together with countries that export a large proportion of migrant workers, such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan,” the ministry said in the tender.Last November, NBIM said it had sold off investments in UK security firm G4S after the council said some staff at its Qatar and United Arab Emirates operations – mostly migrant workers – effectively had little chance of leaving their jobs because so much of their salaries went to paying off loans to cover high recruitment fees.The deadline for responses to the council’s tender is midday on 12 June.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. Norway’s NOK10.3tn (€942bn) sovereign wealth fund revealed today that it has divested several of the world’s largest companies in the last few months, finally putting climate-related exclusion rules into action four years after they were first laid down.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), manager of the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), announced it had excluded Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy and Imperial Oil from its portfolio “after an assessment that acts or omissions on an aggregate company level lead to unacceptable greenhouse gas emissions.”NBIM said: “The Council on Ethics recommended excluding the companies because of carbon emissions from production of oil from oil sands. It is the first time this criterion is being applied.”In addition, NBIM said it had decided to exclude Sasol, RWE, Glencore, AGL Energy and Anglo American due to the product-based coal criteria in its guidelines – a commercial activity politicians in Norway banned from the fund under certain circumstances because of its environmental damage, including its climate impact.last_img read more