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Shareholder group issues 'red alert' warning on Sports Direct bonuses

Investment Management Association signals corporate governance concerns over changes to Mike Ashley-owned retailer’s multimillion-pound scheme

One of the City’s most influential shareholder groups has issued a warning about planned changes to a multimillion-pound bonus scheme at Sports Direct, the retail chain run by Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United football club.

The Investment Management Association (IMA) issued its “red top” alert – its most serious warning signal about corporate governance breaches – ahead of the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting next week because of concerns over pay.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

New Hinkley Point nuclear power station may be further delayed

France’s EDF gives no definite schedule for construction of £24.5bn plant, which still awaits firm’s final investment decision

The planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has been hit by another setback, with its developer EDF admitting the project may be further delayed.

The news came as the French energy group said a more advanced sister project at Flamanville in Normandy would now not start operating until 2018, at a cost of €10bn (£7.3bn). It was originally slated to open in 2005 and cost €3bn.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Tesco late for school – uniforms go missing

Chain’s failure to meet 2,000 orders for customised uniforms causes parental scramble for alternatives as term starts

Thousands of parents have been left with a last-minute scramble to buy school uniforms, or been forced to send children back to lessons without the correct clothing, after Tesco failure to keep up with demand for customised shirts and sweaters.

Up to 2,000 customers did not receive their items – embroidered with individual school crests – in time for the start of term, even though some placed their orders up to six weeks before lessons began.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Pizza Express reverses policy of taking 8% cut from staff tips

Pizza chain becomes latest restaurant to change its policy following a union campaign against the practice

Pizza Express has become the latest restaurant chain to reverse its policy of taking a cut from tips to waiting staff after a union campaign and a backlash from customers.

Waiters called for public support after revealing the 430-branch chain was keeping 8p out of every £1 of tips paid by card, earning the company an estimated £1m a year from what it called an admin fee, according to Unite, the union representing the waiting staff.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

ECB press conference: Markets surge as Draghi hints at fresh stimulus measures – live

Mario Draghi marks his birthday by cutting the ECB’s growth and inflation forecasts, and suggesting more QE could be needed

4.48pm BST

Investec have sent over a handy explanation of the tweaks that the ECB is making to its asset purchase plan (announced early in today’s press conference):

The change will see the Public Sector Purchase Programme issue share limit raised from 25% to 33%, except where the Eurosystem would have a blocking minority.

This change appears to be aimed at reinforcing views that the ECB maintained full control over its purchases and could work easily around market impediments; indeed Mr Draghi said it was meant to ensure the continued smooth functioning of the programme.

4.21pm BST

Ranko Berich, Head of Market Analysis at Monex Europe, reckons the European Central Bank will set sail on QE2 soon, following today’s “unambiguously dovish” press conference:

“Draghi presented a double-whammy of pessimism, with additional downside risks from recent market volatility adding to the already downgraded growth and inflation forecasts.”

Should we see the very real risks of free-falling commodity prices and a weakened growth outlook begin to weigh down on inflation prospects, Draghi has shown his intention to act by altering the duration, composition, or size of QE.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Biggest food and drink companies found to be ignoring impact on climate

CDP analysis finds fewer than a quarter of big food, beverage and tobacco brands report agricultural emissions

The vast majority of the world’s biggest food, beverage and tobacco companies are ignoring their largest climate impacts by failing to disclose emissions from agricultural production, according to a new CDP analysis.

Related: Big food is going green, but will consumers buy in?

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Competition watchdog postpones publication of banking inquiry

Preliminary outcome of study into dominance of Britain’s big four banks delayed by a month until October

The Competition and Markets Authority has backtracked on its pledge to publish the provisional findings of its investigation into the banking sector this month.

The competition watchdog has now set October as the month it will publish highly anticipated findings that could recommend breaking up of the dominant “big four” of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, if the CMA concludes there is not enough competition in the sector.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

'ExxonMobil has its head in the sand and shareholders should be worried'

Yale sustainability expert Todd Cort says the oil company’s failure to adapt to changing growth models has landed it between a rock and a hard place

A few days before the New York Times reported that a federal auction in the Gulf of Mexico in August drew the lowest interest since 1986 – “the clearest sign yet that the fortunes of oil companies are skidding” – I found myself reading the 2014 ExxonMobil Citizenship Report.

The report cites an energy future that’s heavily dependent on oil and gas during the difficult transition to more sustainable energy sources. ExxonMobil then drafts a socially imperative role for itself:

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Osborne backs Chote for second term as head of budget watchdog

Chancellor confirms nomination and says Robert Chote is ‘undoubtedly best person’ to chair Office for Budget Responsibility

Robert Chote, chairman of the budget watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility, has promised to continue shining a light on “the darker recesses of the public finances” after the chancellor gave him another five-year term in the job.

The OBR was set up by George Osborne in 2010 to make independent forecasts of economic growth and the public finances, and provide a check on the Treasury’s tax-and-spending plans.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS