VW plans huge investment to become EV leader

Volkswagen plans to launch 30 all-electric models to reposition itself as a leader in green transport, the BBC reports. Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Europe's biggest carmaker, said huge investments would be needed as the firm moves beyond the "dieselgate" scandal. He said that by 2025, he hoped all-electric cars would account for about 20-25% of VW’s annual sales.  Outlining what he described as the "key building blocks in the new group strategy", Mueller said VW aimed to "transform its core automotive business or, to put it another way, make a fundamental realignment in readiness for the new age of mobility".  VW was plunged into crisis when it was revealed last September that diesel engines had been fitted with software that could distort emissions tests.

US companies double down on solar and wind power

An op-ed piece in the Dallas News seeks to bust the persistent myth that US corporations oppose green initiatives. To the contrary, it argues, many are embracing a green future and adopting reduced carbon footprints as profitable strategic investments. It quotes the Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean-energy think tank, in stating that US companies bought nearly three times as much solar and wind power under long-term contracts in 2015 as they did in 2014. The article argues that, as more companies voluntarily reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the economics of affordable renewable energy options are likely to improve for residential consumers, too.

What’s the real story behind your T-shirt?

A feature in The Guardian looks at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a global alliance of retailers, brands, suppliers, advocacy groups, labor unions and academics, which aims to create “an apparel, footwear and home textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on people and communities”. The coalition, launched in 2009 by Walmart and Patagonia, has brought together 175 members whose companies account for more than 40% of the global apparel industry. They have been building a set of online tools, known as the Higg Index, that measure the social and environmental impact of brands, manufacturing facilities and products. But take-up has been disappointing, and views of the coalition are mixed.

MSLGroup puts its faith in Chinese cause agency

 MSLGroup has acquired Beijing-based cause marketing consultancy Have Faith in Your Brand, and appointed its founder Faith Brewitt as CEO for Greater China, PR Week reports. Brewitt established Have Faith in Your Brand as China’s only specialist cause marketing firm, helping NGOs and multinationals with campaigns around corporate citizenship, strategic philanthropy and issues management. Clients include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, APEC China Business Council, the National Center for APEC and The Starfish Project.

British grandma’s polite Google request

Finally today, news of the woman who could be Google’s politest searcher – 86-year-old May Ashworth of Wigan, England.  The BBC reports that her request, which included “please” and “thank you” was discovered by her 25-year-old grandson Ben, when he visited to do some laundry, and opened her laptop to access the internet.  Her search, to discover the date a TV program was made, read: "Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you." Her amused grandson Tweeted a screenshot for his friends, but it reached thousands of social media users, who voiced their admiration for her manners.  Google UK was also charmed with May. The company tweeted Ben's account with a message for her saying: "In a world of billions of searches, yours made us smile." Us too.

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