2023 Recap: Top 10 Industry-Rocking ESG Controversies

December 18, 2023

RavenPack presents a retrospective on the most impactful controversies that dominated headlines in 2023.

Every day, RavenPack tracks controversial events that may impact the performance and reputation of 7 Million public and private companies. These controversies are evaluated using a transparent framework, powered by real-time data from 40,000+ news sources in 13 languages, offering insights into a company's ESG controversy exposure through time.

Now, let's dive into the events that got the highest controversy scores in 2023. These scores are derived from a multitude of factors, including the breadth of news coverage, linguistic diversity, source volume, novelty, and prominence in headlines.

Highlights of 2023:

  • Tech layoffs: 2023 began with a wave of tech layoffs, as industry leaders like X (formerly know as Twitter), Amazon, Meta, Alphabet, and Microsoft announced substantial workforce reductions, following a pandemic-driven hiring surge.
  • Fox news defamation settlement: in April, Fox News settled a major defamation lawsuit stemming from false information broadcast during the 2020 presidential election.
  • Cryptocurrency crackdown: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ramped up its enforcement actions against cryptocurrency platforms in 2023, with Coinbase and Binance facing significant scrutiny.

Top 10 Industry-Rocking ESG Controversies X laid off an additional 200 employees, further reducing its workforce to around 1,800 from an original 7,500. Amazon's CEO Andy Jassy announced plans to cut 9,000 positions across various departments, adding to previous layoffs affecting about 18,000 employees. 7.09 7.23 7.29 7.30 7.48 7.75 7.82 8.00 8.23 8.28 CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Meta, Facebook's parent company, will cut 10,000 jobs, around 12% of its workforce. Microsoft initiated 10,000 job cuts in January, about 5% of its employee base, part of a larger trend of tech industry layoffs during that time. Fox News settled a $787.5 million defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems. The case highlighted how the network spread false information on the 2020 presidential election. Tesla recalled 363,000 vehicles over safety and Full Self-Driving software concerns, after pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The SEC sued Coinbase for allegedly profiting from unregistered securities, involving 13 crypto assets. The SEC sued Binance, the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, and its founder Changpeng Zhao. The charges allege misrepresentation of trading controls and the sale of unregistered securities. The United Auto Workers expanded its strike to GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee, engine plant, adding to the ongoing strike at GM's Arlington, Texas, assembly plant. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, announced a worldwide cut of 12,000 jobs. 8 MARCH 8 MARCH ! 2023 RECAP 21 MARCH 16 MARCH 4 MARCH 26 JANUARY 18 APRIL 9 MARCH 12 AUGUST 16 JUNE 30 OCTOBER Defamation Defendant - Strike Product recall Legal Issues Defendant Legal Issues Defendant Layoffs Layoffs Layoffs Layoffs Layoffs

It's often difficult to follow all the news to build a complete ESG picture about a company, particularly when events are less reported. Leveraging local and global newswire coverage, the RavenPack ESG controversy framework allows investors to identify companies involved in controversial events before the information reaches the mainstream media. Explore the Controversy scores factors to find out more.

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