• Boeing wins orders for grounded 737 Max jets Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 18:54

    Boeing’s 737 Max took centre stage at the Dubai airshow on Tuesday as airlines announced plans to order up to 50 of the jets worth $6bn (£4.6bn) despite a global grounding in place since March.

    Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana said it had signed a letter of intent to order 30 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets for its FlyArystan subsidiary. Air Astana, which operates Airbus and Embraer jets in its main network, said it was confident in Boeing’s ability to resolve problems with the Max.

    Global regulators banned commercial flights of Boeing’s fastest-selling jet in March after two fatal accidents. Plans for the jet’s return to commercial service have been pushed back to early 2020 as Boeing finalises software and training revisions that need regulatory approval.

    “We are making flying affordable for the people of Kazakhstan,” Air Astana’s chief planning officer Alma Aliguzhinova told reporters, adding that budget carrier FlyArystan would start taking...

  • Lidl’s 19,000 UK staff to get pay rise in line with living wage Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 18:24

    Lidl is giving its UK staff a £10m pay rise in the new year with the higher hourly rate likely to propel it to the top of the supermarket pay league table.

    The retailer said 19,000 employees would get a pay rise in March when its hourly rate would move from £9 to £9.30 outside London and from £10.55 to £10.75 in the capital. The rises match the higher rate announced by the Living Wage Foundation – the charity which sets the voluntary measure – last week. The official minimum wage set by the government for Britons aged over 25 is £8.21.

    Christian Härtnagel, Lidl’s UK chief executive, said: “During this time of such uncertainty, we feel fortunate to be able to make this investment in our colleagues and give them peace of mind with regards to their salary. Our hourly paid employees represent over 80% of our entire workforce, and are the absolute backbone of our business.”

    Along with its German rival Aldi, Lidl is going from...

  • Vegan sues Burger King for grilling Impossible burger and meat on same grill Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 16:59

    When Burger King announced the Impossible Whopper (a vegan alternative to their best-selling burger), they did so with the tagline: “100% Whopper, 0% Beef.”

    Turns out, the statement may have been misleading. At least, that’s what customer Phillip Williams, who is vegan, has claimed in a lawsuit filed against the fast-food giant in South Florida on Monday.

    Williams purchased the Impossible Whopper (without mayo) at a drive-thru store in Atlanta after reading about the Impossible Burger online. He bought the vegan Whopper, which costs around $1 more than the regular Whopper.

    Being a strict vegan who doesn’t eat any animal byproduct, Williams studiously checked that the burger was indeed mayonnaise free and proceeded to eat it.

    He says he was shocked to find later on that the Impossible Whopper is cooked on the same grills as the meat. Williams alleges that no signage on his trip warned him that his burger would be cooked on the same...

  • Can carbon offsets tackle airlines’ emissions problem? Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 15:34

    Global carbon emissions from the aviation industry are growing faster than expected, and pose a serious risk to the world’s climate efforts if left to grow unchecked. The rise of flygskam, or “flight-shame”, has spurred airlines and travel companies to offer customers the option of offsetting the carbon emissions of their flights. But not everyone is convinced that climate sins can be absolved through projects based on simple carbon accounting.

  • Lloyd's of London takes to City pubs to stamp out bad behaviour Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 14:34

    Insurance market Lloyd’s of London will plaster City pubs with posters urging workers to report inappropriate behaviour, after nearly 500 of its underwriters and brokers said they witnessed sexual harassment in the past year.

    It is part of the 333-year-old institution’s efforts to stamp out bullying and harassment across the insurance market, which had been criticised by the shadow City minister Jonathan Reynolds as being “institutionally sexist”.

    The campaign was launched inside Lloyd’s hi-tech headquarters in the City this week, with “high impact” advertising, banners and vinyl posters featuring prominently throughout the Grade I-listed building at One Lime Street. Lloyd’s is now planning to approach local bars and cafes for a similar roll-out.

    “We stand for integrity, respect and inclusion. And always speak up,” one of the posters reads. “Lloyd’s. No room for unacceptable behaviour,” another says. Both feature the number for a...

  • A therapeutic tuning fork: Why is Marie Kondo selling the world’s most unnecessary item? Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 14:04
    The queen of tidying told us to get rid of everything in our homes that failed to spark joy. Now she’s opened an online shop so we can replace it all
  • Labour would rewrite rules of UK economy, says John McDonnell Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 12:09

    John McDonnell has promised that a Labour government would “rewrite the rules of our economy” as he announced radical reforms to business regulation that he said would help workers to “take back control”.

    In a speech that made a series of attacks on corporate excess, the shadow chancellor also ruled out imposing a windfall tax on oil and gas companies – a policy Labour had been seriously considering in recent days.

    But he outlined a series of changes to the “regulatory architecture” that governs how Britain’s businesses can behave.

    “We aim to take on the excesses of the shareholder model, and lay some of the foundations of a stakeholder economy,” he said.

    “Today’s business model of shareholder domination is increasingly proving to be incompatible with not just the fair and respectful treatment of workers but also with the responsibilities associated with any organisation operating within a democracy,” he said.

    He said a...

  • UK poised to approve £4bn US takeover of defence firm Cobham Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 11:39

    The government will not make a final decision on whether to accept the takeover until after a consultation on the undertakings has been completed on 17 December.

    Leadsom said: “I have now reviewed further national security advice from the MoD and met with both Cobham and Advent who have offered legally binding undertakings designed to mitigate national security concerns, which I am minded to accept.”

    Shonnel Malani, a partner at Advent, said: “Following the CMA’s review, we have worked closely with the Ministry of Defence to construct undertakings that would adequately mitigate against any potential national security risks and we welcome today’s decision by the secretary of state to propose to accept those undertakings, subject to consultation.”

  • EasyJet to offset carbon emissions from all its flights Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 09:44

    British budget airline easyJet is to become the world’s first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across its whole network by offsetting the emissions from flying.

    The airline said that it would cost about £25m to offset the emissions in the next financial year through schemes to plant trees or avoid the release of additional carbon dioxide, though its chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said longer-term solutions were also needed.

    “We recognise that offsetting is only an interim measure, but we want to take action on our carbon emissions now,” he said.

    The announcement came as it reported full-year results for the year ending 30 September in line with previous guidance.

    EasyJet said headline profit before tax was £427m, compared with guidance last month of a figure of between £420m and £430m. That was down 26% due to rising fuel prices and a tough operating environment.

    The airline said bookings for the first half...

  • Bill Gates backs startup using sunlight to create 1,000C-plus heat Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 09:14

    Bill Gates is backing a new venture which aims to turn sunlight into a source of heat exceeding 1,000C degrees that could help replace fossil fuels.

    The world’s richest man is joining investors behind Heliogen, the first company to concentrate sunlight to reach temperatures that are high enough to power heavy industry without carbon emissions.

    The technology could even reach temperatures of 1,500C to split hydrogen particles from water to create a fossil-free gas to warm homes, fuel cars and power factories.

    Bill Gross, the chief executive and founder of California-based Heliogen, said the company represents a technological leap forward in tackling the emissions from industry and transport that make up 75% of the world’s carbon footprint.

    The company uses software to align a large array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a target, creating a source of heat almost three times as intense as previous commercial solar systems.

  • Merger between New Zealand Herald and Stuff owners back on the table Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 08:44

    The merger between the owners of the New Zealand Herald and the country’s most popular news website Stuff is back on the table two years after it was rejected by the high court.

    New Zealand Herald publisher NZME has confirmed it is in talks with Nine Entertainment, which put Stuff up for sale after it took control of Fairfax Media last year.

  • Stock markets mixed amid doubts on US-China trade deal – business live Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 08:14

    Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

    The waiting game continues for the US-China trade deal. Chinese state media described the latest discussions, held by phone over the weekend, as “constructive,” but a report from CNBC suggested yesterday that the mood in Beijing was pessimistic. Doubts have crept in over whether a preliminary deal can be struck, and when.

    Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank’ Asia Treasury Department in Singapore, told Reuters:

  • Jayne-Anne Gadhia: 'People joke I have a way with bearded billionaires' Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 06:19

    Even in London, it’s not every day you meet someone who can claim to have a bearded billionaire on speed dial. Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia may well have two.

    For more than 20 years, she was a close confidante and colleague of Richard Branson, under whom she helped found Virgin Money, the financial services company she steered through an acquisition of Northern Rock, a stock market listing and, earlier this year, an eventual sale to the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group.

    But as of last month, she is more likely to be spotted with Marc Benioff, another moneyed philanthropist. Last month, Gadhia took over as the UK and Ireland chief executive of the San-Francisco-based Salesforce, the $140bn (£108bn) customer management software provider founded by Benioff two decades ago.

    Salesforce offers a centralised database for companies to store and track information about their clients, which in turn can help to improve sales and marketing, and to...

  • People often don't trust us on 5G: Telstra asks government to help combat health fears Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 05:49

    Telstra has called on the government to help combat a misinformation campaign on the health risks of 5G that has been carried out “on a scale we have not seen” before, driven by social media.

    Australian mobile telecommunications companies are only just beginning to build 5G networks around the country, but they are already facing stiff opposition from campaigns largely built online about the alleged health effects of 5G operating in higher non-ionising radio frequencies.

    The Labor MP Ed Husic said during a parliamentary committee hearing examining 5G on Tuesday that politicians’ offices had been “bombarded” with emails from members of the public complaining about 5G.

  • Mission incredible: Bob Katter, Ricki-Lee and the $135m Dunk Island spending spree Link
    Guardian Business Tue 19 Nov 2019 01:29

    Fund manager James Mawhinney made quite the splash when he arrived in the small north Queensland town of Mission Beach a few weeks ago.

    The boss of the controversial investment empire Mayfair 101 brought with him pop singer Ricki-Lee Coulter, independent MP Bob Katter – and a pledge to spend $135m buying properties in town.

  • Chick-fil-A pulls funding for Christian groups criticised for LGBT stance Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 23:04

    The US fast-food chain Chick-fil-A said it has stopped funding two Christian organisations that have come under fire from LGBT+ campaigners for opposing marriage equality.

    The fast-food chain’s charitable arm, Chick-fil-A Foundation, donated millions of dollars over a period of years to the Salvation Army and to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), which opposes same-sex marriage.

  • Big profits can fuel bad corporate behaviour, new research shows Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 20:09

    Hubris and overconfidence caused by excellent financial performance is a major driver of irresponsible corporate behaviour, according to new research.

    Di Fan, a senior lecturer at the business school of the Australian National University, said his research showed companies making above-average profits were more likely to breach their environmental or social obligations than run-of-the-mill firms.

    He said internal corporate governance had failed to curb bad behaviour and, based on his earlier research of US companies, fines needed to be increased as much as sixfold to encourage better behaviour.

    Fan’s research, published in a paper co-authored with colleagues from Spain, Ireland and Hong Kong, comes amid fallout from widespread corporate misconduct in the financial services sector, and scandals over wage underpayment in various other industries. Company executives are under political pressure to resist activists who demand environmental,...

  • Climate crisis could lead to more wind power, says report Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 19:39

    The global climate crisis could help to generate more renewable electricity by spurring faster wind speeds for the world’s growing number of windfarms, according to new research.

    Scientists have discovered that the world’s shifting ocean circulation patterns may have triggered a rapid increase in wind speeds over the last 10 years.

    The international research team analysed data from 9,000 international weather stations since the late 1970s and found that wind speeds have unexpectedly increased after a three-decade slowdown.

    Dr Zhenzhong Zeng, a professor at Princeton University, and the lead author of the report, said the research team was surprised by the findings after setting out to study the slowdown in global wind speeds.

    The faster than expected wind speeds could help increase the amount of renewable electricity generated by windfarms by more than a third to 3.3m kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2024.

    Zeng said the unexpected...

  • Jamie Oliver launches new mid-range restaurant concept Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 19:08

    Jamie Oliver is to take another crack at building a mid-range restaurant chain just six months after most of the celebrity chef’s UK dining empire collapsed.

    Two of his Jamie’s Italian outlets in south-east Asia – on Kuta beach in Bali and in Bangkok, Thailand – are to be converted to a new format called Jamie Oliver Kitchen, the latest concept to be launched by the chef and which will focus on all-day dining with dishes reflecting local cuisine.

    An additional 19 openings are planned up until the end of 2020, to supplement the 70 restaurants across 27 markets that the Jamie Oliver Group currently operates, according to his company.

  • Pawnbroker halts short-term loans as FCA launches review Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 17:43

    One of Britain’s biggest pawnbrokers has suspended its unsecured cash loans business and warned that it may have to pay compensation to customers as the City regulator reviews its operations.

    H&T, which operates 254 pawnshops across the UK, said it is “working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority following a regulatory review of certain aspects and files of its high-cost short-term credit (‘HCSTC’) unsecured loans business … The group has ceased all HCSTC unsecured lending, at least temporarily, as it works through this review process.”

    The announcement to the stock market sent shares in H&T crashing by nearly a quarter at one stage, but they pulled back to losses of about 15%. Until the announcement, H&T, a business valued at about £120m, had been one of the best-performing small shares on the AIM market over the last year.

    H&T’s various business arms charge interest on an annualised basis of between 49.9% and...

  • Jo Swinson gets best reception at CBI for Lib Dems' pro-EU stance Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 17:18

    Jo Swinson was the most warmly received of the party leaders to appear on stage at the CBI’s annual conference, as the Liberal Democrat leader’s unwavering commitment to remaining in the EU proved popular with business delegates.

    As leaders did their best to promote their policies to the business community ahead of the general election on 12 December, the audience’s reaction to both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn was lukewarm at best.

    The prime minister’s promise that his “oven-ready” Brexit deal would end the uncertainty over Britain’s relationship with the EU found favour with many of the business leaders gathered, but there was also despair at the move toward extremes by both main political parties.

  • Pernod Ricard staff allege firm's 'drinking culture' made them ill Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 14:23

    Staff at the French wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard claim they were under constant pressure to drink at work to the point of damaging their health.

    One former salesman told how he felt obliged to knock back up to 12 glasses of the aniseed-flavoured drink a day and drove his car while drunk. Another spoke of three-day binges.

    The accusations, denied by Pernod Ricard, come after a member of the firm’s sales team took the company to a labour court in September claiming he had been made ill by excessive drinking.

    Since then other employees, one who still works at the company, have come forward to describe a “culture of drinking”.

    One saleswoman told Le Parisien how staff drank at lunchtime, after meetings and in the evenings as well as when they met clients, and that continual drinking caused her to suffer hallucinations and hear voices.

    “It’s the company’s culture: if you say no, you’re not very well regarded,” she said,...

  • Johnson’s Brexit would devastate business – the CBI must be hoping that he’s lying | Simon Jenkins Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 13:23
  • Saudi Aramco scales back preparations for initial public offering Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 12:53

    Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil corporation has scaled back preparations for its public listing by scrapping plans to market shares in the company to investors outside the Middle East.

    Saudi Aramco has reportedly ruled out a formal investor roadshow across Asia, the US and Europe just weeks ahead of a planned initial public offering on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange.

    Aramco’s executives were expected to meet with major institutional investors across the world’s financial centres over the coming weeks to promote the world’s most profitable company in the run-up to its listing early next month.

  • Boris Johnson to shelve planned cut in corporation tax Link
    Guardian Business Mon 18 Nov 2019 11:53

    Boris Johnson has told business leaders he will shelve a planned cut in corporation tax, claiming he would put £6bn into public services instead.

    The prime minister used a speech at the CBI conference to say corporation tax will not be cut from 19% to 17%, and issued a plea for business leaders to show understanding about his priorities.

    Johnson’s decision to keep corporation tax unchanged comes as he attempts to distance the Conservatives from being seen as the party of big business, while promising tax cuts for small businesses, such as reducing rates and raising the employment allowance.

    Labour has relentlessly portrayed the Tories as the party of the wealthy and has promised a number of nationalisations, which they claim would make utilities, railway, broadband and other services work better for the public.

    Speaking at a hotel in Greenwich, south-east London, Johnson said the Conservatives were the party of business but...

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