Chevron announces emissions cut target

Chevron vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Paris accord on climate change, potentially averting a shareholder rebellion at its annual general meeting.

The U.S. oil major pledged to reduce air pollution intensity by 25 to 30 percent by 2023, as recommended in the Paris agreement that took effect in 2016. The target applies across the company’s global portfolio, including assets in which it owns stakes but is not lead operator.

The metric will also be a factor in determining employee bonuses, Chevron said in a report published Thursday.

Although the reduction targets won’t apply to emissions created by consumers using Chevron products — a key demand from environmentalists and activist investors — the move is a significant policy shift for Chevron, whose CEO Mike Wirth is one year into the role. It follows a similar change by rival BP.

In last year’s report, Chevron said the 2016 Paris deal was only a “first step” toward a global climate framework.

Chevron’s decision may defuse an investor proposal to be considered at its annual meeting this year. Shareholders As You Sow and Arjuna Capital asked the oil supermajor to adopt the Paris targets, including the use of Chevron’s products by consumers.

— Bloomberg News

Facebook faces new limits in Germany

Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling on Thursday that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.

Germany, where privacy concerns run deep, is in the forefront of a global backlash against Facebook, fueled by last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users’ consent.

The country’s antitrust watchdog objected in particular to how Facebook pools data on people from third-party apps — including its own WhatsApp and Instagram — and its online tracking of people who aren’t even members through Facebook ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons.

Facebook said it would appeal the decision, the culmination of a three-year probe, saying the regulator underestimated the competition it faced, and undermined Europe-wide privacy rules.

— Reuters

Also in Business

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it was taking action against certain retailers including Walgreen Boots Alliance for repeatedly flouting tobacco sale rules, including sales of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors. Walgreens is the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22 percent of its inspected stores having illegally sold tobacco products to minors, the agency said.

Renault has found evidence that it paid part of Carlos Ghosn's wedding costs and is preparing to turn the investigation over to prosecutors, two weeks after the French carmaker's scandal-hit chairman was forced out. An internal probe established that a 2016 sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles included a $57,000 personal benefit to Ghosn, the carmaker said Thursday. Ghosn remains in detention in Tokyo with limited opportunity to respond publicly to allegations against him.

A bankruptcy judge has blessed a $5.2 billion plan by Sears chairman and biggest shareholder Eddie Lampert to keep the iconic business going. The approval means that about 425 stores and 45,000 jobs will be preserved. Lampert's bid overcame opposition from a group of creditors that tried to block the sale.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that it plans to resume an anti-dumping investigation into Mexican fresh tomatoes that has been suspended twice since the 1990s, the last time in 2013 to avoid a costly trade war between the neighboring countries. It said it was giving the required 90-day notice that it intends to withdraw from a 2013 agreement to suspend the investigation after hearing concerns from American tomato producers.

Coming today

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for December.

— From news services