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SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesFour of the world’s biggest carmakers have failed to sign a COP 26 summit pledge to only sell zero emissions cars and vans by 2035.Volkswagen, Toyota, Renault-Nissan and Hyundai-Kia were not among signatories to the climate summit declaration.China and US, which are the world’s biggest car markets, were also absent from the list of signatories.Big car manufacturers that did sign up included Ford, General Motors, and Jaguar Land Rover.What did the pledge say?The declaration, which was made at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow, called on signatories to speed up the global transition from cars that burn fossil fuels to zero emissions vehicles, which include electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.The agreement signed by governments and city authorities across the world commits signatories to ending the sale of new cars that produce emissions in “leading markets” by 2035, and globally by 2040.Investors and banks said they would support the transition, and some fleet owners pledged to make their car and van fleets green.Who signed up the list?Some major carmakers were signatories, including Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.Governments that signed up included Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK – although Britain has already said it will ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030.Some US cities and states put their names to the list, including New York and California.Investors including Aviva and NatWest, and fleet owners including supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Tesco also signed up.Image source, Getty ImagesWho was absent from the list?While some parts of the US such as Dallas, Los Angeles and New York City signed up, the US itself, which is the biggest car market, remained off the list.China, which is the second-largest car market, was also absent. Germany, the largest car market in the EU, did not sign up.The world’s largest car manufacturers, VW and Toyota, were not on the list, alongside rival car giants Renault-Nissan and Hyundai-Kia.Volkswagen, which recently unveiled its ID.5 electric SUV, said that while it was creating electrified products, the environmental benefits of signing up to the pledge were not clear-cut when electricity production in the US and China is still heavily reliant on burning fossil fuels.A spokesman said major markets relying on fossil fuels to produce electricity means “the argument isn’t there” for pledging to only sell electric and other zero emissions cars by 2035, adding: “We are just being realistic.””We believe that an accelerated shift to electro mobility has to go in line with an energy transition towards 100% renewables,” the car giant said in a statement.”The Volkswagen Group, representing business activities in all major markets worldwide, decided not to sign the declaration at this point in time.”Toyota, which put its first commercially produced electric cars on the road in 1997, said it will “provide the most suitable vehicles, including zero emission products, in response to the diverse economic environments, clean energy and charging infrastructure readiness, industrial policies, and customer needs in each country and region”.PM urges climate action as draft decision publishedWorld headed for 2.4C warming despite COP – reportFossil fuel industry has biggest delegation at COP26COP 26Why does this matter?Transport in the EU and the US accounts for about a third of carbon dioxide emissions, which is one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.Of that total, in the EU, about 70% comes from road transportation.For this declaration in Glasgow to have been a breakthrough, it needed the backing of major governments and car manufacturers, Professor David Bailey of the University of Birmingham Business School said.”Without the US, China and Germany on board, we are not going to get vehicle emissions where we need to be by 2050,” Professor Bailey said, adding that the big car makers also need to be “on board”.He said that the US “has a penchant for big pick-up” trucks that will need to be electrified eventually, but a 2035 target for new sales would not gain popular support for US President Joe Biden.The car industry in Germany is split between car electrification and wanting to use synthetic fuels, while China is heavily reliant on coal, and building more coal power stations.China setting zero emissions vehicles sales targets would beg the question about why it was not committing to more electricity generation from renewables, he added.Image source, UK GovernmentWere there any more COP 26 transport announcements?The UK launched the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council (ZEVTC), a group of 30 countries that “have agreed to work together to make zero emission vehicles the new normal”, the government said.It also announced that all new heavy goods vehicles will be zero emission by 2040, with HGVs of 26 tonnes and under being phased out from 2035.Industry body the Road Haulage Association said that it was “concerned about the timing of phasing out some sizes of new trucks from 2035”.The RHA’s managing director of policy and public affairs, Rod McKenzie said:”We support the government’s aim to decarbonise but the pace may be impossibly fast. Care is needed to ensure that all markets are served and future disruption to the supply chains are avoided.”We would like the deadline extended for lorries over 18 tonnes by five years with support for hauliers in making the transition.”Proven alternatives to diesel for all uses, locations, ranges and the heaviest trucks don’t yet exist. It will require continuous review of the timeline over coming years to ensure a sustainable and successful transition to zero tailpipe lorries.”The UK also announced a new design for electric vehicle charge points “which could become as iconic as the Great British post box, London bus or black cab” it said.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesAmericans’ cost of living is rising faster than it has for three decades, with food and fuel driving the increases.The consumer prices index for October showed prices rose 6.2% over the last twelve months.It marks a sharp jump from September when prices were already rising at 5.4%.Inflation has been a growing concern for shoppers and policymakers this year as the impact of the pandemic persists.Rising prices for food, shelter, used cars and trucks and new vehicles were among the larger contributors, the Bureau for Labour Statistics said.Meat, fish and eggs rose more than other foodstuffs, while petrol, or gasoline, prices are at seven-year highs. US Fed to trim pandemic stimulus from this monthUS growth slows to just 2% as Delta hits economyBottlenecks in the supply of some goods, combined with increasing demand from customers as the vaccine programme allowed the economy to reopen, are partly to blame for the rises.A shortage of staff has prompted employers to raise wages in some sectors, too, which in turn can feed into higher prices.Even excluding the cost of food and fuel, which tend to be more volatile, prices were rising strongly at 4.6%. Taken on a monthly basis, the US Labor Department said, prices rose 0.9% in October, after gaining 0.4% in September, illustrating the pace of acceleration.The Federal Reserve has said it believes the current high rate of inflation “to be transitory”. As a result, the Fed is not expected to raise interest rates – the usual response to rising inflation. However, last week, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell did announce a scaling back of the Fed’s bond-buying programme, the first move towards a tightening of monetary policy.Many economists are warning inflation could prove more intractable as the scramble for staff and supplies continues to exert pressure on prices.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesWalkers has said it is “very sorry” for the continuing shortages of its crisps.The company said it was “doing everything we can” to increase its production and get stock back on supermarket shelves.Products from ready salted crisps to Quavers have been affected by a problem with an IT system upgrade.The firm has said it is prioritising production of its most popular crisp flavours, but has not given a timescale for when stocks will be replenished. The BBC previously reported supplies of crisps were set to be disrupted for a few more weeks, but Walkers declined to comment further when asked again.The shortage of crisps has seen some empty shelves in the shops and prompted some to sell Walkers products at inflated prices on eBay, with the Daily Mail reporting one seller was charging £6 a packet.PepsiCo, the parent company of Walkers, declined to comment further on how the IT system issues resulted in the shortage products.In a statement, Walkers said: “Our sites are still making crisps and snacks, but at a reduced scale. “We’re doing everything we can to increase production and get people’s favourites back on shelves. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesMarks and Spencer says it is planning for “significant” increases in supply chain costs owing to worker shortages.The retailer has forecast costs will rise during the rest of the financial year and be “steeper again” in 2022-23.M&S bounced back to make £187.3m in pre-tax profits in the six months to October, compared with a loss of £87.6m for the same period last year.Food sales increased by 10.4%, while its clothing and home division’s full-price sales rose by 17.3%.Steve Rowe, M&S chief executive, said: “The hard yards of driving long-term change are beginning to be borne out in our performance.”Despite the strong results, Mr Rowe said that “given the history of M&S”, the company wouldn’t “overclaim our progress”.On the back of the firm’s half-year results, M&S shares were up 20% on Wednesday morning, despite the warnings over driver and warehouse worker shortages.Like many other companies, M&S said lorry driver shortages were posing challenges, but added it had deployed several recruitment projects and incentives to attract new drivers and that it believed its food business was “comparatively well placed” to deal with the shortages.The department store added it hoped to driver “long-term growth and loyalty” by offering a better service and quality through its food delivery deal with Ocado.Commenting on the latest results, Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said M&S’s food business continued to be the company’s “cash cow”, but added the retailer was “starting to turn round its clothing and home performance”. “From its joint venture with Ocado, to improving its multi-channel approach, to prioritising its online offering, M&S has transformed itself and this is paying off in its results,” she added. “If it hopes to avoid disappointing investors this festive period, M&S will need to hold on to its transformed brand while continuing to work with suppliers to lessen the cost squeeze caused by supply chain issues.” Image source, HalfordsElsewhere, Halfords said sales rose by 19.2% compared with two years ago, “despite the known supply chain disruption”.Graham Stapleton, chief executive, said demand for bicycles remained “good”, adding the company was “pleased” with the current availability of children’s bicycles and electric bikes in the run-up to Christmas.However, Mr Stapleton said “moving anything” around the world in the past six months had been “particularly challenging”, with freight costs sometimes as high as 10 times the normal rate.”Even if goods are manufactured and a container is found to ship them to the UK, the recent HGV driver shortage has meant that this final leg of the supply chain has been more costly and unreliable,” he said.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesCocktail sales have soared in comparison with traditional ales as more young people venture out post-lockdown, says Wetherspoons.In the 15 weeks to 7 November, sales of drinks such as mojitos and cosmopolitans were up 45% on the year before, along with vodka and rum.Draught products have suffered, however, with sales of ale down by 30%.The pub chain’s chairman said that its older customers had been visiting less frequently.Under coronavirus-related restrictions, the Wetherspoons chain saw its pubs shut for 19 weeks.Tim Martin, founder and chairman of Wetherspoons, said that some customers had been “understandably cautious” as lockdown measures eased.”Improvement in trade will therefore depend, to some extent, on the outlook for the Covid-19 virus,” he added.He also said that he hoped booster vaccinations and better weather in the spring would improve sales.Wetherspoons runs low on some beer brandsIs there a solution to the hospitality staff crisis?Wetherspoons warns VAT move to push up meal pricesOverall, like-for-like sales – which strip out the effect of new pubs opening – were 8.9% lower for the first 15 weeks of the financial year than the record sales it saw in 2019.Bar sales dipped by 9.6%, with the chain saying that its Lloyds pubs, which offer music, had performed a bit better at weekends, “probably reflecting a higher percentage of younger customers”.Laura Hoy, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that a “permanent” shift in favour of younger pubgoers could be bad news.The more cautious attitude seen among older customers “should wane as the pandemic comes under control, but there’s no telling how long that will take”, she said.Food volumes also appear to have been affected by some customers working from home, Wetherspoons added. Breakfasts were down by 22%, for example. Coffee was also a less popular item on the menu.Trade in airports was still continuing to suffer, it said.The firm recently reported a record annual loss of £154.7m as sales fell sharply in the year to 25 July.Certain city centres such as Liverpool, Newcastle, Oxford and Chester had seen pubgoers return more recently, it said on Wednesday. In central London, though, sales are still down by 17.4%.Recruitment driveAs Covid curbs have eased, the firm has been looking to fill vacancies for pub staff and managers and make the most of the economic recovery.It acknowledged that the hospitality industry had been affected by labour shortages.”Wetherspoon had some isolated difficulties in staycation areas in the summer and during the ‘pingdemic'”, it said.Image source, Getty ImagesBut it said that overall, there had been a reasonable number of applications.The number of employees has increased from 36,987 when pubs reopened in April to 42,240.Like many hospitality firms, it has also been hit by supply chain issues such as driver shortages, which have been exacerbated by both the pandemic and Brexit.In September, Wetherspoons said some of its pubs had run out of some beer brands, including Heineken and Carling, because brewers had been affected by the shortage of HGV drivers.On Wednesday, it admitted that it had seen “some problems from time to time”, but shortages had only affected a “minority of products”.Problems have eased in recent weeks, according to the pub chain, although the key festive trading period is still yet to come.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesThe New Zealand-based visual effects studio co-founded by Oscar-winning director Sir Peter Jackson has been sold for $1.6bn (£1.2bn).Weta Digital, which has worked on films including Lord of the Rings and Avatar, is being bought by video games software company Unity.Unity’s technology is behind games such as Pokémon Go and Call of Duty: Mobile.The firms say the deal means that Weta’s special effects tools will be “democratised”.”Together, Unity and Weta Digital can create a pathway for any artist, from any industry, to be able to leverage these incredibly creative and powerful tools,” Sir Peter said in a statement.Weta, which was co-funded by Sir Peter in 1993, is known for creating animated characters such as Avatar’s Neyriti, Gollum in the Lord of the Rings film series and Caesar from Planet of the Apes.”For the southern hemisphere, Weta is our version of Hollywood,” Sydney-based film critic James Fletcher told the BBC. “Peter Jackson is a visionary filmmaker. He didn’t have the tools he needed to achieve the results he wanted so he put a team together.”Under the deal the company will be split up, with its technology assets being sold to Unity as Weta Digital.Its visual effects business will remain as a separate company called WetaFX, which is expected to become one of Unity’s largest customers.In a statement, Unity said it will “put Weta’s incredibly exclusive and sophisticated visual effects tools into the hands of millions of creators and artists around the world” enabling them to shape the future of the metaverse.The term metaverse has come into wider mainstream use in recent weeks after Facebook said last month that it would change its name to Meta to better reflect its new focus on connecting users through augmented and virtual reality.”This deal is actually quite exciting,” said Mr Fletcher.”They’ll be able to make this technology available to filmmakers. It’s really going to be a disruptive deal and be beneficial to creatives all around the world.”After the announcement of cash-and-stock deal Unity’s shares fell by more than 6% in extended trade on the New York Stock Exchange.You may also be interested in:This video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, ReutersThe Duke of Sussex has said he warned Twitter boss Jack Dorsey about political unrest in the US – just a day before the deadly 6 January riots.”I warned him his platform was allowing a coup to be staged,” Prince Harry said at the RE:WIRED tech forum in the US.”That email was sent the day before. And then it happened and I haven’t heard from him since,” the duke said.He was speaking at a session discussing whether social media was contributing to misinformation and online hatred.Harry promises to share ‘highs and lows’ in memoirHarry: Heavy drinking masked pain of mum’s deathMr Dorsey, who is Twitter’s chief executive officer, has so far made no public comments on the issue.Internet ‘being defined by hate, division and lies’Prince Harry, who now lives with his wife Duchess of Sussex in California, appeared at Tuesday’s session via video chat as a guest speaker. He was introduced as the co-founder of the Archewell organisation. The duke used his personal experience with online hatred and the press to reflect that social media companies were not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation. He said the internet was “being defined by hate, division and lies”, adding: “That can’t be right.”His appearance via video chat comes two weeks after a data analytics company alleged that 70% of the hate directed towards the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Twitter was generated by just 55 accounts.Capitol riots timeline: How the day unfoldedCapitol riots: What we have learned six months onWho stormed the Capitol?Meanwhile, investigations into what happened on 6 January, when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC and disrupted the official certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the White House race, are continuing.More than 670 people have been charged with taking part.On Tuesday, a congressional committee investigating the riots summoned more of Mr Trump’s closest aides to give evidence.Among the latest batch is a former White House press secretary, a senior policy adviser and personal assistants.The inquiry is trying to find out if Mr Trump had foreknowledge of the attack.You may also be interested in…This video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, RivianShares in electric vehicle firm Rivian are set to start trading in New York on Wednesday, after raising about $10.5bn (£7.75bn) from investors.That’s as the shares were priced at $78 each, according to media reports.That would make it the largest share flotation for a US company since Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2012.Yet Rivian only started delivering its first electric pick-up trucks to customers in September.And the California-based start-up has made losses of over $2bn over the last two years.But the van and truck maker has drawn significant investor interest, in part because it already has the backing of online giant Amazon.And it is has beaten rivals include Ford and General Motors to a segment of the market – small trucks, pick-ups and SUVs – which is popular with American drivers. The shares in its IPO were priced at $78 per share, above its target range of $72 to $74 per share, according to several media sources.Rivian is already being compared to Elon Musk’s Tesla, which transformed the market for electric cars.Alongside the pick-up truck, Rivian is due to start rolling out its sports utility vehicle (SUV) in December and a delivery van in 2023.’I’m just not ready to buy an electric car’Tesla surpasses a $1 trillion valuation The classic cars being converted to electric vehicles”Rivian exists to create products and services that help our planet transition to carbon neutral energy and transportation,” said RJ Scaringe the company’s founder and chief executive in the firm’s submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of the share flotation.”This is what inspired me to start Rivian, and it’s what drives every decision we make as an organisation.”Image source, RivianThe firm was founded in 2009 as Mainstream Motors, changing in 2011 to Rivian, a name derived from “Indian River”.Originally Mr Scaringe pursued the idea of an electric sports car but later changed track to focus on trucks and vans.Recently Rivian has invested heavily in production of the R1T which is designed as an aspirational, outdoor adventure style vehicle. It comes with the option of a three person tent roof attachment and a slide-out kitchen unit for cooking in the wild.But crucial to investors’ interest is the firm’s relationship with Amazon, which not only owns 20% of Rivian, but has also said it will buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from the firm, once the firm starts to roll them out too.Not so long ago, US investors didn’t have that much time for electric vehicles. But things have changed – and how! When Tesla went public in 2009, its shares were priced at $17 apiece, giving the company a total value of $1.5bn. Today, the share price stands at well over $1,000, and the value of the company at more than $1tn. That may explain at least some of the hype surrounding Rivian. EV businesses are simply hot property these days. Factor in powerful backing from Ford and Amazon, pickup trucks that look all-American, even if they run on batteries, with commercial vehicles as well, and you can see why the IPO has gathered such momentum. Rivian is not Tesla. Its products are very different, and deliberately so. But investors are clearly betting on the company one day becoming every bit as disruptive. Ford has also invested in the firm, as well as working on its own electric trucks.Karl Brauer at ISeeCars.com said there was a lot of excitement around the brand because of the backing it has already secured, and because it presents itself as a premium truck brand.”It’s not all about it being an electric vehicle. It’s about it being an extremely effective truck that’s powered by electricity,” he said.”I think people have a lot of anticipation, because they do feel like there’s shades of Tesla here,” he said.However he said Rivian’s fortunes could be undermined by an economic downturn reducing demand, or by mechanical or production difficulties.There is already another cloud on Rivian’s horizon. Its former vice president of sales and marketing, Laura Schwab is suing the company claiming she was was wrongfully dismissed after making a gender discrimination complaint about the “toxic bro” culture at the company.She also says she warned the company its delivery targets were “not achievable”.You may also be interested in:This video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, FoodstepsLou Palmer-Masterton, the owner of three vegan restaurants, says it was a logical progression to add carbon labelling to the menus.All three branches of her Stem & Glory mini-chain were already using only renewable energy, and participating in reusable lunchbox and cup schemes, but she wanted to go one step further.So, now the menus at the two outlets in London, and one in Cambridge, are set to include a carbon dioxide emission score for each and every item.”This is something I’ve thought about for a while, and even though all our products are plant-based, I was still curious about the impact they have on the environment,” says Ms Palmer-Masterton.”This movement [carbon labelling] is exploding right now, and it makes sense.”So what exactly is greenwashing? Seven way to spot it Image source, Lou Palmer-MastertonTo work out, and display, the carbon scores for each of its dishes, Stem & Glory has gone to a UK start-up tech firm called Foodsteps.Launched in 2020, the Foodsteps’ website and app allows food firms and restaurants to calculate the carbon dioxide produced by a particular product or dish “from farm to fork”.BBC Radio 4 – The Bottom Line, Carbon labellingFoodsteps’ software system contains a database of carbon dioxide release figures, including calculations of everything from various fertilisers, to the method of delivery of raw materials, the cooking process, the manufacturing of any packaging, and any refrigerated or frozen storage.To gather all this data Foodsteps says it has used “thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies, alongside our own primary research”.Restaurants and food firms who pay to sign-up to its scheme can then display their Foodsteps carbon scores on their menus or packaging, from A (very low) to E (very high). They can also add a QR code to link to a webpage focusing on the other environmental credentials of the food item in question.Image source, Getty ImagesThe founder and chief executive of Foodsteps – Anya Doherty – came up with the idea for the business when she was researching sustainable food systems as a postgraduate at the University of Cambridge.She says the Foodsteps system goes into “micro” detail. “It’s a puzzle to figure out [the carbon score of a food item] because it’s about understanding the different life cycles a food goes through.”For example, every crop acts in a different way, depending on where it’s located. And what kind of fertiliser do they use?”.As global leaders continue to meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or Cop26, in Glasgow, the issue of reducing carbon dioxide emissions has never been more prescient.It is particularly important for the food sector, as one report earlier this year said that world food production may account for as much as 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.Yet, one issue for companies keen to adopt a carbon labelling system is which system they should select, as there are now a number of different schemes to choose from.In the UK they include the before mentioned Foodsteps, which has funding from government agency Innovate UK, and currently has 20 or so clients.Also UK-based is the long-established carbon labelling scheme provided by the UK’s Carbon Trust. This organisation was launched by the UK government back in 2011, but is now a private company, and its labelling is offered globally.In addition, there is a new labelling scheme offered by a not-for-profit organisation called Foundation Earth, which registers carbon emissions as part of a wider environmental impact score. This is backed by most of the UK’s main supermarkets, and Nestle.Meanwhile, food giant Unilever, the maker of everything from Hellmann’s mayonnaise, to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Persil washing power, is working on its own carbon labelling.Image source, Anya DohertyA spokesperson for the Carbon Trust says, the organisation hopes that the increasing number of carbon labelling schemes all follow correct calculation methods.”We recognise that there are a growing number of carbon labelling schemes currently on offer, but in order to maintain rigorous standards, we would like to see consistency with product carbon foot-printing with a cradle-to-grave approach for consumer facing products.”This includes using high quality, transparent, primary data when making an analysis, as well as using internationally recognised methodologies to measure carbon footprints.” New Tech Economy is a series exploring how technological innovation is set to shape the new emerging economic landscape.What looks certain is that a majority of consumers would welcome carbon labelling, as a report for the Carbon Trust found.Its 2020 survey of more than 10,000 adults across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US discovered that 67% were in favour of the labelling.Christopher Kong, boss of UK meat-alternative brand Better Nature, says he hopes that the transparency of carbon labelling will help stop the wider food industry being “flooded with untruths, ‘green washing’, and unfulfilled promises”.Better Nature’s products, which are made from tempeh, fermented whole soybeans, use Foodsteps’ labelling, and score an “A”.Image source, Better NatureProf Mohini Sain of the University of Toronto is a global expert in the development of biodegradable food packaging. His concern regarding carbon labelling is how effective it can possibly be without governments legislating to force all companies to put the information on all their products.”Will businesses only label their A-grade products and not label the ones that get an ‘F’?” he says.Can we stomach some of the latest deliciously weird food innovations?”There isn’t any policy compelling them to release all the labels for their products, unlike how some countries mandate nutrition labels on all products.”A number of countries are now looking at introducing mandatory carbon labelling, with France hoping to have a scheme in place by 2023. Image source, Better NatureIn the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that while there is currently no intention to make carbon labelling a mandatory requirement, it is looking at the issue.”Food information is robustly regulated in the UK and must not mislead consumers,” says a Defra spokesman. “This includes claims about a product’s environmental impact.”We will soon be reviewing all aspects of food labelling in the forthcoming Food Strategy White Paper. This will ensure all labelling provides consumers with the information needed to make safe and informed choices, while allowing for businesses to succeed and grow.”Back at restaurant firm Stem & Glory, Ms Palmer-Masterton says that the public would back mandatory labels. “People want to know how the things they buy have a carbon impact on their daily lives.”

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingThis video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.How do you foster team spirit when your 700-person workforce is suddenly working from home? One tech firm boss explains her tactics, for our business advice series, CEO Secrets.Lisa Utzschneider isn’t wearing her baseball cap during our interview by video call, but for internal company meetings at the moment, it would be expected.”Wearing our hats together, as a global organisation, unifies our team,” she says.Her employees – usually based in offices dotted around the world – have been working from home during the past 18 months of the pandemic. As hybrid working becomes the norm this will remain the status quo for the majority for a while, although the New York and London offices, are now open.The caps are a way of “showing up” for work and proving you know everyone is in it together, she says.Image source, IASThe pandemic has been a busy time for Ms Utzschneider, who became CEO of Integral Ad Science (IAS) in early 2019. The new job came with many challenges. She swiftly had to pivot company culture to suit lockdown conditions, float the company on the stock exchange, and deal with the challenges of being a parent of young children, all while working from home herself. IAS is the kind of company that has popped up in the past decade to serve a new digital need: verification of genuine audience engagement and reputation management in online advertising. Marketing budgets are increasingly spent on social media content, rather than television and print. There has been a sharp rise in the past decade in the amount of money brands spend directly on online influencers for instance, to spread their message. Globally, businesses have spent more money on digital advertising than traditional formats, since 2019, according to eMarketer. Economies like the US and UK reached this tipping point several years earlier.IAS works with some of the biggest brands in the world, like Nestle and Coca Cola. It makes sure their video adverts on social media platforms are being targeted effectively and in a way that doesn’t create a bad impression of the brand – like rolling next to violent, highly politicised or sexually charged material.”If you think of a Nestle advert running on YouTube,” explains Ms Utzschneider, “we verify that their video ad was viewed by a human and not a bot, and also that it ran next to safe and suitable content.” The company’s software algorithms gather and analyse vast amounts of data every day to do this.These huge companies don’t want the social media platforms to be “grading their own homework”, says Ms Utzschneider, explaining that a third party is needed to build trust. Advertisers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on these platforms so need to get a return on their investment, she says.At first, the social media platforms did not necessarily like this arrangement, but that response has changed, she says.YouTube “did a complete 180″ in the Spring of 2019, she remembers, when it came under pressure from marketers about inappropriate and violent content appearing next to their adverts.Since then, the digital platforms have realised they need to become more transparent and allow a third party to inspect the service they are offering, she explains. Ms Utzschneider likens her company to Switzerland during the Second World War – a neutral observer in the online battle for people’s attention, not directly involved in the fray.Image source, IASMs Utzschneider’s route to the top has been a progressive, steady one, with roles at some of tech’s biggest behemoths along the way.In her mid-twenties, in the early 2000s, she was working in the non-profit, public policy sector, but decided to make the switch to the booming world of commercial technology. She left a senior role with the International Relief Committee to work for Microsoft. But the transition was not straightforward. She was rejected after the first round of interviews, something that still pains her.”I rang the recruiters the next day to politely ask why they rejected me,” she remembers, “they said that I didn’t display enough passion. So I said, ‘give me another interview and I bet I can show you passion’.” The tactic worked and she landed a different, entry level role as an account manager at MSN, Microsoft’s digital advertising division.After a decade at Microsoft she took a job with Amazon, where she became global vice president of advertising sales, a chance to build a global advertising business. Marissa Meyer then persuaded her to join Yahoo to build an advertising business. All these jobs involved gruelling hours, but also the challenge of being a woman leader in the world of predominantly male senior tech leaders.Image source, IAS”I’ve been on hundreds, if not thousands, of conference calls, where I’m the only female dialling-in. I learned early the importance of finding your voice, showing up prepared, speaking up, early and often,” she says.”I’ve also developed a very strong muscle of… when others interrupt me, just politely calling them out. Or calling that peer afterwards on the phone to say, ‘Hey, in the future can you give me some room in the meeting, so that I can share and contribute?’ It made me very resilient.”As a direct result of this experience she made it a “strategic priority” and a “personal commitment” to build a female-majority board when she became CEO of IAS.But back to those hats.The transition to home working has been the defining challenge for many businesses during the pandemic, however, in some ways, it made the IPO easier, says Utzschneider. She could do the roadshow of investor presentations online by video call from home – rather than the usual gruelling method of touring the country, living out of a suitcase. She could have dinner with her kids every evening.But the downside to working from home was, potentially, a disconnected company culture. So the hat-wearing custom became a visual statement that they didn’t want to let that disconnect happen. She’s worn her hat for town hall meetings, on-boarding sessions for new employees, analyst calls and investor meetings.”Our hats-on mantra has unified the organisation,” says Utzschneider.Image source, IASBut what she hadn’t expected, is that the hats also help with family life.”When my two young girls see I have the hat on, they know mum’s at work, and that means they can’t really come in and visit me, but when I come downstairs for a meal, they’ll tell me: ‘Mom, it’s time to take your hat off!’People have become more upfront and open about talking to their colleagues about their personal priorities, which can have a profound effect on simple things like time management, says Utzschneider.For example, working parents can’t always stay for “just another five minutes” at the end of the meeting, and shouldn’t have to accept a two-night work trip when a one-night one is possible, allowing them to put their kids to bed an extra night.These conversations are happening more and more at work now, she finds.”It’s a more transparent way of working, that lets us support each other, and spend that quality time with our loved ones.”CEO Secrets reporter Dougal Shaw is on Twitter: @dougalshawbbc