US automakers back in black

Let the good times roll. Low gasoline prices are spurring record automobile sales in the US and companies like Ford are lapping it up The New York Times reports. The Dearborn, Michigan company reported a record $2.5 billion in net income for the first three months of the year - a bigger profit than in any other quarter in its 112-year history. Driving the success is America’s rekindled love affair with the SUV and the Ford F-150 in particular. A new aluminium design make the F-150 more fuel efficient than before but it won’t exactly help the US curb carbon emissions - the gas guzzler still only gets about 16.3 miles to the gallon.

VW and Shell push for biofuels over EVs in Europe

As the EU contemplates new fuel efficiency targets to meet its Paris climate change commitments the Guardian reports on a lobbying effort by Volkswagen and Shell to “block Europe’s push for electric cars and more efficient cars.” This seek the two companies launched a study advocating an increase in biofuels and CO2 car labelling instead. As the Guardian writes: “In reality, such a package would involve the end of meaningful new regulatory action on car emissions for more than a decade, EU sources say.”

Target takes a transgender stand

US retailer Target has taken a bold stand in the growing debate over public bathroom access for transgender people and what it means for civil rights, gender identity and individual privacy. Last week Target said it would allow transgender employees and customers to choose restrooms and fitting rooms based on their gender identities. The move is the most prominent of any retailer and has drawn both applause from supporters of transgender rights and boycotts from conservative activists. According to The New York Times, “Target may be betting on a more progressive shift in national attitudes on gender and sexuality,” and it quotes marketing expert Jonah Berger who observes: “Making these progressive value statements is a new form of advertising.

Lundquist takes stock of sustainability engagement

On to the sustainability communications now where our friends at Lundquist are canvassing the sustainability and CSR community “to take the pulse of how engagement is evolving in a digital age,” as they explain in this post. Lundquist has been charting the development of sustainability and comms since 2007. If you’d like to add your insight to collective body of knowledge the link to the online survey is here.

The ethics of borrowing (and returning)

Finally today, news that a woman in New Zealand has returned a library book she borrowed 67 years before. The Guardian reports that the woman “had checked out the book as a child and been meaning to return it for years.” The fine for returning the overdue is about £11,700. Luckily for the offender she borrowed Myths and Legends of Maoriland when she was a child and children aren’t charged for overdue books. 

Have a good weekend and check your bookshelves!

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