BP shareholders revolt

Well that was pretty categoric. Yesterday some 60% of shareholders voted down a proposed £14m pay package for CEO Bob Dudley that will have repercussions throughout the corporate world. As the Guardian writes: “Britain’s top bosses were sent a warning…that they must rein in boardroom excess.” The point was hammered home just a few hours later when more than 50% of investors in medical equipment group Smith & Nephew also nixed proposed executive pay deals.

The S.U.V. arms race

The low price of oil is part of the reason why Dudley’s proposed pay rise was seen as unsustainable and it also contributes heavily to the resurgence of the S.U.V. in the US. With gas prices less of an economic obstacle US consumers are slaking their traditional thirst for big, bold automobiles The New York Times reports. Last year, sales of traditional passenger cars declined while S.U.V. and so-called crossover vehicles surged by 16%. With S.U.V.s already making up 35% of the total US automobile market, “an onslaught of competitive new S.U.V.s, especially in the most profitable high-end segment, is in the development pipeline or already showing up in dealer showrooms,” the NYT writes.

Why is the car a star?

So why do people love their cars so much? In a lengthy article The Atlantic argues that America’s enduring love affair with the automobile is all about convenience - “this trusty conveyance, always there, always ready, on no schedule but its owner’s. Buses can’t do that. Trains can’t do that. Even Uber makes riders wait,” it writes. We might also point out that the construction and infrastructure of modern American society often makes the automobile a necessity not just a convenience. Either way, The Atlantic argues our must-have appetite for cars hides the hidden costs of ownership and concludes:  “Considering the constant fatalities, rampant pollution, and exorbitant costs of ownership, there is no better word to characterize the car’s dominance than insane.” 

Ford build its headquarters for a sustainable future

Given the thrust of the previous piece it might be considered a bit ironic that Ford Motor Company is planning super efficient and sustainable new headquarters in Dearborn, MI. The 10-year $1.2 billion project “includes buildings that will reduce water and energy use by 50 percent, driverless cars and eBikes to transport employees, onsite gardens to grow food and composting toilets, among many, many other technology-enabled and sustainable features,” Environmental Leader reports. Imagine the company’s impact once it employs this sustainability philosophy throughout its entire product offering.

Join us in Barcelona for Sustainable Brands

Finally today, another reminder about the excellent Sustainable Brands Barcelona conference on May 23 and 24. We’re offering our readers a 40% discount off the delegate price when you use the code SPKRSB162D. We’ll be there as a media partner so if you’d like to join us in Barcelona register here.

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