Persil's Greenwashing: 10 Things We Learned This Week

Elon Musk has a grand plan to provide satellite wi-fi to cruise ships, but that's not the only interesting story that's come to light this week

Emma Simon 2 September, 2022 | 1:08PM
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn


Persil’s Under Fire For Greenwashing 

Persil doesn’t just wash your whites whiter, as the old ad claimed. Its latest advertising campaign has been banned for “greenwashing” — that is, making misleading claims about its environmental credentials. The brand, owned by Unilever, said the washing powder was “kinder to our planet” but the Advertising Standards Authority said the claim was unsubstantiated. It’s not the first time the ASA has taken action in this way. It also recently took similar action against Innocent Drinks. Amid concerns some fund managers may be over-using ESG terminology in their marketing, you can expect more scrutiny on this in finance too. New regulations, and analysis such as that provided by Morningstar should help combat it.

The Property Boom is Running Out of Steam 

Latest housing market data shows property prices rising by 10% year-on-year, but it appears they cannot continue to defy gravity for much longer. These  Nationwide Building Society figures show price rises are slowing — and housing market economists appear concerned they could soon start to head in the opposite direction. While some are predicting a sensible slowdown, there are fears that rising interest rates, spiraling energy bills and potential job losses in a recession could see many falling behind with mortgage payments — leading to forced sales, rising repossessions, and a possible market crash. As one property analyst put it in his blog this week: This is Getting Scary.

Revolution Beauty Needs a Proper Glow-Up

Shares in AIM-listed make-up brand Revolution Beauty were suspended this week after auditors flagged a number of accounting issues. The UK firm, which has around 15,000 stores worldwide, has been unable to audit its final results and annual report. It has not been a pretty few months for the company. Its share price is down 85% over the year to date. Boohoo has used this sliding share prices as an opportunity to build a 12% stake in the business. Revolution Beauty was founded in 2013 and floated on the stock exchange just over a year ago. At the time the company said it hoped to take on the big names in the beauty industry and create a "mini L’Oreal" by appealing to the tastes and pursestrings of 16-to-25s. With market cap falling from £500m to £54m, shares will need a proper glow up to realise value.

The NHS Has a New App

NHS bosses have agreed to improve the NHS app so patients can see “real-time” data on which hospitals have the shortest waiting lists for different treatments. Steve Barclay, the health secretary — for this week at least — says he hopes it will enable patients to make decision about whether they want to travel further to receive treatment more quickly. NHS England has agreed to implement these plans by April next year, although this will do little to alleviate current waiting times as we move into the winter. However, given the poor track record of other healthcare technology programmes (remember track and trace?), it remains to be seen whether the plan will work. 

Asda Knows The Price of Competition

Motorists could end up paying more to fill up their cars if Asda’s £600m takeover of The Co-operative Group’s 129 petrol forecourts goes ahead. Motoring groups have called for the competition authorities to scrutinise the deal carefully to ensure drivers are not penalised. The deal was announced as EG Group — which owns Asda, as well as forecourts under the Esso, BP and Shell brands — was forced to deny it was profiteering from the energy crisis.

Solar Panels Are Flying Off The Shelves

And speaking of energy costs, spiralling gas and electricity bills have prompted an increase in sales of solar panels. According to Solar Energy UK, the trade body for the sector, installations have tripled over the past two years. A total of 3,000 installations are now carried out each week — compared to 1,000 a week in July 2020. Although installation still requires significant outlay, costs have fallen by around 60% over the past decade, it said. The trade body lists the cost of a typical system for a three-bed home at £3,925 - saying it will now take just four to five years to recoup this outlay through lower energy bills.

Private Equity Has a Recipe For Veganism

Michelin-starred chefs might soon be serving up fake chicken alongside vintage champagne and amuse-bouche. Planted, a Swiss start-up invested in alternative protein options, has secured funding of £62m (CHf70 million) from L Catterton, the private equity division of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. The company, better known for Moet champagne, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, is building its stake in the company, which is looking to market vegan "chicken breasts" to restaurants and supermarket shoppers. Planted has already been selling smaller fake "chicken" pieces made from peas, alongside sunflower seed "pulled pork". German Michelin-starred chef Tim Raue will be the first to make the synthetic cuts available to diners in his eponymous restaurant in Berlin.

World Cup Stickers Cost a Handball and a Free Kick

The World Cup is a few months away and football finance expert Kieran Maguire — a University of Liverpool academic — has calculated just how much it will now cost to complete a Panini sticker book for Qatar 2022. Although it costs just 90p for a packet of five stickers, Maguire estimates that with "average luck" football fans will have to spend almost £900 to collect the stickers of all 670 players in the tournament. On paper it may be possible to get all stickers for an outlay of just £120.60, but as Maguire points out this is “highly improbable" thanks to duplications and some elusive obscure players. Swapping stickers with friends remains a useful "workaround" to keep costs down, he says.

Elon Musk is at Sea (Sort Of)

It’s been another busy week for Elon Musk. His SpaceX company announced a deal to offer onboard internet to Royal Caribbean Cruises via its satellite network Starlink. These low-orbiting satellites aim to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the planet, and it is hoped might tackle the issue of holidaymakers enduring bad internet connectivity when cruise ships are at sea. Elsewhere, Musk — who is CEO of Tesla as well as SpaceX — has sought to delay a trial relating to his decision to terminate his $44bn takeover of Twitter. Musk has cited claims made by a whistleblower of "far-reaching misconduct" at Twitter, in relation to information and data security, as one of the reasons for blowing up the mega-deal. Experts think an out-of-court settlement beckons.

US Life Expectancy is Falling

The US might have one of the world’s largest and most powerful economies, but the average age at which its citizens can expect to live has fallen for the second year running. In 2019 the average US citizen could expect to live to 78 years, 10 months. In 2020 this dropped to 77 years ,and this week we learned that it fell to just 76 years and one month in 2021. The drop was initially attributed to the pandemic, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also cites drug overdoses, heart disease, suicide and liver problems as being major factors. One US demographer calls it "a dismal situation", as the last comparable decreases happening in the 1940s, at the height of World War II.  

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

About Author

Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for

© Copyright 2024 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use        Privacy Policy        Modern Slavery Statement        Cookie Settings        Disclosures