15th November 2021
Good morning If you were bothered by your boss over the weekend, then you might want to consider moving to Portugal. Under new laws called “right to rest” Portuguese employers are banned from texting or emailing workers after hours.
- Good Cop, bad Cop? – Climate talks come to an end after two weeks
- Going our separate ways – Why conglomerates are breaking up
Climate talks come to an end after two weeks
What’s going on?
After over two weeks of tense negotiations in Glasgow, the UN climate change conference, aka COP26, finally closed on Saturday. The talks between representatives from some 200 countries agreed a new climate deal.
Why is this important?
“Moment of truth”, “world’s best last chance” and “last chance saloon” are just some of the stark warnings that were used to describe Cop26.
The aim of the last two weeks was to agree how countries would work together to limit global warming to 1.5C, to minimise the impacts of climate change.
The key pledges made included:
- Countries have to republish more ambitious carbon emission reduction targets for 2030, by the end of next year.
- More than 140 countries agreed to stop and reverse deforestation over the next decade. Russia and Brazil were among the signatories and together they account for more than 30% of the world’s forest area.
- There was a last minute change from India to amend the pledge to phase “out” coal to phase “down” instead.
- More than 100 countries pledged to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
It was always going to be the case that negotiations between so many countries would result in compromises on all sides. The agreement has been hailed as a landmark as it’s the first to include direct references on coal and fossil fuels.
However climate activists argue that the deal does not go far enough to limit global warming to 1.5C. Also the fact that it’s not legally binding means that commitments will rely on countries self-policing.
Why conglomerates are breaking up
In the past week a succession of 100+ year-old conglomerates have announced they are breaking up their businesses in an effort to become nimbler.
- GE the US industrial giant founded by light bulb inventor Thomas Edison, is splitting into three companies – focussing on energy, health care, and aviation - after 129 years.
- Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest healthcare and consumer company, is dividing into two. It’s carving out its consumer product business – maker of J&J baby oil, Listerine and Neutrogena –into a separate company. The prescription-drug and medical-device business will stay in the core.
- Toshiba, one of the best known Japanese companies, will split into three divisions: infrastructure, electronic devices, and a third to hold a mix of assets including flash-memory company Kioxia Holdings Corp.
All three companies have had a turbulent time of late: Toshiba has grappled with an accounting scandal, J&J has faced allegations of cancer-causing talcum powder and GE has already offloaded a series of unwanted assets.
The dismantling of these corporate behemoths is driven by a move away from being a “Jack of all trades and a master of none”. One company operating in a wide range of disparate industries can lead to a lack of focus and poor execution.
But a new wave of tech companies could buck the trend. Amazon does everything from selling books to TV production to cloud computing. Alphabet started with the Google search engine and now develops driverless cars and runs YouTube.
Stat of the day
Foreign ownership of UK residential property has almost tripled in the last decade, with Hong Kong as the single largest source of buyers in the UK housing market
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- AstraZeneca has decided to make money from the pandemic after all
- Burger King picks banks to serve up £600m London flotation
- Alibaba enjoys record sales for Singles Day shopping extravaganza in China
- Net-a-Porter owner mulls sale as losses mount
- Influencer fashion brand In The Style's founder steps aside as new CEO named
- Christmas parties get the chop at London firms
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