Mueller Reprise, Encryption Debate, Disney on Abortion: CEO Daily for May 30, 2019
It’s been four years since Fortune launched the Change the World list, which features companies that are using their profit-making superpowers to make measurable progress addressing important social issues. Fortune has been in the list business for more than half a century—comparing companies by size, speed of growth, reputation, employee satisfaction, etc. But we felt it was important to add a list that looked directly at social impact. You can see previous years’ lists here.
We’re soliciting nominations for the 2019 edition of the list, and could use your help. Entries are vetted by Fortune writers and editors, with help from the non-profit Shared Value Initiative, who together screen hundreds of nominations. The most important criteria is measurable and significant social impact. We aren’t looking for philanthropy. We are looking for companies that do good as part of their profit-making activity—because we believe only profitable activity will be sustainable.
To nominate a company, please visit our application page here. The list itself will be published in mid-August.
Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller made news yesterday by repeating out loud what he already wrote in his report: he was unable to exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice, but also unable to charge him due to Justice Department policy, and really it’s up to Congress to take things further. Here’s where prominent Democratic 2020 candidates stand on the impeachment thing: Fortune
The encryption debate is back, again. The British spy agency GCHQ has proposed a way of bypassing encryption in online communications that, it claims, would not undermine the security and privacy of systems such as WhatsApp—essentially, law enforcement would be silently added as a participant in targeted conversations. Apple, Google and WhatsApp vehemently disagree that the method would be unobtrusive, saying it would require major software changes that mislead users. CNBC
Disney on Abortion
Disney boss Bob Iger has threatened to pull filming in Georgia if the state’s new abortion law takes effect, because production staff wouldn’t want to work there. “If it becomes law, I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” he said. The measure is actually law already, but it only comes into effect at the start of 2020, assuming it survives legal challenges. It would ban abortions where the doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which is usually around the six-week mark—a point at which many women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. Reuters
British auto production almost halved last month, because manufacturers had scheduled factory shutdowns to cope with the disruption of a March 29 Brexit that ended up not taking place—the deadline has now been shifted twice, with the latest being Oct. 31. Factories won’t be able to repeat the process for the new deadline, warned the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT.) BBC
Around the Water Cooler
Axel Springer, one of Europe’s biggest press publishers, may go private under a deal being orchestrated by CEO Mathias Döpfner, and backed by the Springer family and private equity firm KKR. The deal would reportedly be worth €4.9 billion ($5.5 billion.) Axel Springer owns Germany’s biggest newspaper, Bild, and also Business Insider and half of Politico Europe—at one point it almost bought the Financial Times, but Nikkei beat it to the punch. FT
Israel’s Delek Group is to shell out $2 billion or so for British oil and gas fields that are currently owned by Chevron, which, like ConocoPhillips, is pulling out of the North Sea in order to focus on North American extraction. Delek’s Ithaca Energy unit predicted a four-fold increase in production this year. Delek intends to list Ithaca in London. Bloomberg
American liquefied natural gas is apparently now called “freedom gas,” according to a Department of Energy press release that also makes reference to “molecules of U.S. freedom.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry has previously referred to the U.S. “delivering a form of freedom to the European continent” in the form of gas—presumably because the fossil fuel isn’t Russian. Guardian
So-called ultra-processed foods such as chicken nuggets, instant soups and ice cream may be linked to early death and poor health, say Spanish and French researchers. The jury’s still out on a definitive cause-and-effect link, though, as those who eat highly processed foods are also more likely to do other unhealthy things, like smoking. BBC