Ted Franks

Smurfit Kappa and the war on plastic – March Monthly

It is nearing five years since we opened our investment in Smurfit Kappa. Listed in Dublin (and now also London), it is one of the world’s leading packaging companies. The 46,000 Smurfit Kappa employees produce 34,000 cardboard boxes every minute.

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Seb Beloe

Is this Facebook’s ‘Volkswagen’ moment?

Facebook’s recent travails have resurfaced long-standing questions about the role and influence that Facebook, Google and other ‘tech giants’ have in shaping public discourse. The loss of 16% of its value in the week leading up to Easter has so far forced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to apologise for a ‘breach of trust’[i]. Whether there will be further long-term implications for the business is still unclear. However, this most recent scandal, along with stricter regulation governing the use of personal data such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) point to much greater scrutiny in future.

In advance of these latest controversies, Facebook and other tech stocks have been popular holdings among a wide range of leading ‘ESG’ and sustainability funds. Facebook’s standing has clearly been weakened by recent events with some investors now questioning the company’s continued position in their portfolios[ii]. But can Facebook and the other tech giants ever really be considered to be offering solutions to sustainability challenges? Read more …

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