- Why palm oil’s popularity is a planet-sized problem
- How regulators are cracking down on aggressive corporate tax practices
- Climate-related shareholder resolutions in Japan receive strong support
Palm oil’s usefulness means that it is found in everything from food to soap. Strong demand and high yields make it an attractive crop for growers, but the clearing of tropical rainforest for palm oil plantations is a major contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss. In EOS’s Q3 2022 Public Engagement Report, we examine why the insatiable demand for palm oil is resulting in major environmental damage, and how new due diligence rules may force Western companies to step up scrutiny of their supply chains.
EOS engages with palm oil producers, processors, traders, consumer goods and retail companies, as well as Asian banks providing financing for plantations. It expects companies to take responsibility for deforestation in their supply chains, including going beyond certification to trace commodities back to their source. Companies should also carry out human rights due diligence to monitor labour practices and working conditions to ensure that employees earn a living wage, and that there is good health and safety on site.
Also in this issue, EOS looks at how companies that try to aggressively minimise their tax payments will face increasing legal, financial and reputational risks as regulation tightens. US engager Joanne Beatty explains why tax revenues are vital for cash-strapped public services, and how EOS engages with companies to ensure that they pay a fair share.
“Public services are under immense strain in many countries in the wake of the pandemic, with soaring inflation adding to the pressure,” she says. “Against this backdrop, it is vital that tax burdens are distributed proportionately, rather than falling on the most vulnerable segments of the population. However, some multinational companies employ aggressive tax practices to minimise their tax payments, meaning that governments must make up the revenue
shortfall by increasing the burden on individuals, or borrowing more.”
Finally, EOS identifies the high-profile votes from 2022’s annual shareholder meetings in developed Asia and emerging markets. This year EOS saw renewed attempts to improve board diversity and independence, as well as some positive shareholder action in Japan and Brazil.
To find out more, read the EOS Q3 Public Engagement Report.