Business brakes on green reforms

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 6-Apr-21

Deloitte’s survey of global CEOs has found that 54 per cent of Australian firms had to downgrade sustainability initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 65 per cent of global respondents. Thirty two per cent of Australian CEOs reported that they intend to speed up sustainability initiatives in the next year, compared to 23 per cent of their global counterparts. Around 44 per cent of Australian CEOs stated that their environmental performance is aimed at meeting customer expectations, while 57 per cent view employee morale as a "key driver" of environmental policies.

CORPORATES
DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED

ASIC on watch for phoenix revivals

Original article by David Ross
The Australian – Page: 18 : 18-Jan-21

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission will crack down on phoenix activity in the corporate sector as the federal government winds back insolvency protections that were introduced in response to COVID-19. ASIC commissioner Diana Steicke says the corporate regulator has no evidence to suggest that this will lead to an increase in phoenixing; however, she says ASIC will keep a watch on high-risk company directors and pre-insolvency advisers who could potentially engage in such activity.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

CEOs eye boost in Biden binge

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 & 18 : 18-Jan-21

Australian businessman Andrew Liveris says the incoming Biden administration is likely to pursue capital expenditure initiatives worth between $US2trn and $US4trn over the next several years. Liveris says this may generate opportunities for Australian companies, particularly in areas that are likely be a focus for Joe Biden, such as clean energy and associated infrastructure. Macquarie Specialised Asset Management chairman Tony Shepherd in turn says Biden administration’s stimulus program will be good for the global economy, including Australia. However, some business leaders have expressed concern about any move to roll back the Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts.

CORPORATES
UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, MACQUARIE SPECIALISED ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED

CBA push to get half of staff back in office

Original article by James Frost, James Fernyhough, Tom Burton, Hannah Wootton
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 7-Jan-21

The Commonwealth Bank is hoping to have 50 per cent of its Sydney and Melbourne staff back working in their offices by mid-January. However, with recent COVID-19 outbreaks in both cities, a company spokeswoman noted it is monitoring the situation and will adhere to guidance from the Victorian and New South Wales governments. The Victorian government has delayed by a week its proposed timetable for a return by workers to Melbourne’s CBD, while it has again made it mandatory to wear masks inside, including for office work. A Telstra spokesman says it will encourage its staff to continue to work from home if they can, while Melbourne-headquartered Medibank does not intend to open its office until February.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, MEDIBANK PRIVATE LIMITED – ASX MPL

Business must lead China peace mission, top executives say

Original article by Damon Kitney, Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 13 : 5-Jan-21

Company directors taking part in a round table discussion organised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors contend business should take the lead in trying to improve Australia’s strained ties with China. Penny Bingham-Hall, who is a director of BlueScope Steel, Fortescue Metals and Dexus, says there are very good personal relationships between Australian businesses and Chinese businesses, while Coles director Wendy Stops said "upfront criticism" is not the way to deal with China. Amcor chair Graeme Liebelt says there is a risk Australia could get "caught up in the crossfire" between the US and China.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, BLUESCOPE STEEL LIMITED – ASX BSL, DEXUS – ASX DXS, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

EY, Atlassian join corporate exodus home amid virus panic

Original article by Edmund Tadros Rohan Sullivan
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 : 13-Mar-20

Law firm King and Wood Mallesons and technology company Atlassian were among the major companies to send staff home on 12 March, due to concerns that staff may have been exposed to COVID-19. In the case of Atlassian, it closed its two Sydney offices after a service provider reported flu-like symptoms. Media company Nine also sent a small number of Sydney staff after it was disclosed that actress Rita Wilson and her husband actor Tom Hanks had been diagnosed with COVID-19; Wilson had visited Nine’s Willoughby campus earlier in the week.

CORPORATES
KING AND WOOD MALLESONS ATLASSIAN CORPORATION PLC NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC

Employers order workers to stay at home after China trips

Original article by Jennifer Duke
The Age – Page: Online : 29-Jan-20

Corporate Australia has responded to the coronavirus by taking a range of measures to protect staff. UBS is among the firms that have asked employees to work from home for two weeks if they have recently visited China. This includes staff who attended the investment bank’s recent Greater China Conference or who travelled to China for the Lunar New Year. The Commonwealth Bank has advised staff to avoid all non-essential travel to China, and to Hubei province in particular.

CORPORATES
UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA

ASX100 CEOs already paid more than the average annual salary

Original article by Killian Plastow
The New Daily – Page: Online : 14-Jan-20

The average CEO of an S&P/ASX 100 company has probably earned more since the start of 2020 than the average worker will earn for the whole year, based on Australian Council of Superannuation Investors figures. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Australia’s top-earning CEO in 2018, received as much as 281 workers earning the average wage. Bonuses, which are viewed as ‘at-risk’ pay, account for much of the large amounts that CEOs receive. However, ACSI CEO Louise Davidson notes that over 50 per cent of ASX 100 CEOs received over 70 per cent of their bonuses in the 2018 financial year, suggesting to her that so-called ‘at risk’ pay is "not very risky at all".

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 100 INDEX, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN

Drop hurdle rates or risk missing out

Original article by James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 7 : 3-Jan-20

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has urged local companies to lower their ‘hurdle rates’ for investment returns to reflect lower rates. His comments regarding lower hurdle rates echo those of federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe. Sims says if firms do not adjust their hurdle rates, Australia will forgo business investment, while overseas companies with more realistic hurdle rates will acquire more local assets. Sims has also urged the corporate sector to back his push for new laws that outlaw unfair business practices.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

Robots to take 500,000 jobs

Original article by Jacob Greber
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 10-Dec-14

The Department of Industry’s "Australian Industry Report 2014" suggests that many white-collar jobs that involve routine tasks could automated in coming years. These include roles such as accountants, bank tellers, supermarket cashiers and pharmacists. Some 78.6 per cent of people in roles that are risk from automation hold a university degree. A report in 2013 found that around 47 per cent of jobs in the US could potentially be replaced by automation

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, OXFORD UNIVERSITY. OXFORD MARTIN SCHOOL