Aerial shot of steam rising from a carbon dioxide removal plant in Iceland.
Photo: Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Carbon removal needs rules

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Good morning! The hottest thing in climate tech right now is carbon dioxide removal, but without any oversight or regulation, researchers worry it’s moving too fast.

The ethics of carbon dioxide removal

Carbon dioxide removal can’t solve all our climate woes, but that’s not stopping big money from pouring into the field. The industry is likely decades away from being ready for prime time, which could make now a perfect time for companies to pump the brakes and answer some ethical questions.

CDR is in uncharted territory. There’s no framework around issues like noise pollution from air capture plants or the ecological impact of carbon removal, Protocol Climate reporter Michelle Ma writes. Researchers have already started calling for a code of conduct.

  • In the meantime, a group of around 40 carbon management startups — calling itself the Carbon Business Council — created an “Oath to Restore the Earth,” which executive director Ben Rubin likens to oaths taken in the medical and legal fields.
  • One carbon removal startup, Planetary, has even created its own pledge.

But ethical guidelines are just a start. It’s one thing for a company to say it’s on board, and it’s another thing for it to hold itself accountable.

  • “You can have lots of good intentions, but you can also have just really shoddy products,” Simon Nicholson, an associate professor of international relations at American University, told Michelle. Nicholson said companies could hire researchers to examine the claims of carbon removal startups as a way to hold themselves to account.
  • Companies could also involve frontline communities in carbon removal products. Local fishing groups, for instance, could be hugely affected by ocean-based CDR.

There's also the concern that carbon removal's existence simply allows corporations to continue polluting the atmosphere. As Michelle writes, a good carbon removal framework will need to be accompanied by another kind of commitment: a good-faith effort to reduce emissions.

You can read Michelle's full story here.

— Sarah Roach

Hire, lay off, hire, lay off

Businesses are facing an unprecedented talent shortage. So why are half of them also cutting jobs? This push-pull dynamic in the labor market surfaced in PwC’s latest Pulse Survey of over 700 public and private company executives, 14% of whom lead tech, media and telecom organizations. (Most others hail from consumer markets, industrial products and financial services.)

Execs are worried about talent acquisition and retention: They ranked it as the second-biggest risk to their business — right after the top risk, cyberattacks. But many are still cutting staff and withdrawing job offers at the same time.

  • 52% said they were freezing hiring, half said they were cutting head count and 44% said they were rescinding offers.
  • Despite this, only 9% said they would be decreasing investment in their workforce in the next year. 42% said they would invest more in their workforce.

This all adds up to a “labor market paradox,” Bhushan Sethi, joint global leader of PwC’s People and Organization practice, told reporters. Amid all of the freezes and job cuts, execs cited growth as their top business objective (83%), and only 30% said recession poses a major risk to their companies.

  • “We see this with many organizations, where they’re saying, ‘We may have overhired. There may be less demand, and we’re going to kind of manage overall head count,’” Sethi said. “But they still need to grow revenue, grow profits, and by doing that, they’ve got to have access to attract and retain specialized talent.”

“Specialized” is the keyword in all of this, and skilled workers are still sitting pretty in the labor market. Sethi called this a “workforce mix change” in which many companies are prioritizing certain skills as they rely more on automation and contract workers for other functions.

  • And if you can’t hire them, buy them: 52% of execs said they were considering an acquisition to snag talented workers.

A version of this item first appeared in our Workplace newsletter. You can subscribe here.

— Allison Levitsky, reporter (email | twitter)

How to not hire a deepfake

Companies have been increasingly alerting the FBI about prospective employees using real-time deepfake video and deepfake audio during remote job interviews. The equipment needed to pull something like that off isn’t as sophisticated as you might think, and advances in technology means it'll only get easier.

But there are things that companies can do to prevent getting duped: Read our full story here to find out more.

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People are talking

SoftBank's Yoshimitsu Goto said the company sold Alibaba shares to show investors its finances are fine:

  • “In times like this, it is critical as an investment group to instantly show that our financial strength is rock solid."

The FDIC asked FTX and other crypto companies to stop misleading consumers about the insurance status of their funds:

  • “Each of these companies made false representations … stating or suggesting that certain crypto-related products are FDIC-insured.”

Coming this week

The Saleslove 2022 conference starts today and runs through tomorrow in Austin.

Women Impact Tech begins in Boston today and runs through tomorrow.

Java Conf starts tomorrow. It’ll feature speakers from Red Hat, Microsoft and other cloud companies.

Salesforce reports earnings Wednesday after market close.

Tesla’s three-for-one split shares will start trading on Thursday.

Making moves

Blake Peterson is joining Meta to work on content policy regulation. She most recently worked at the State Department's Bureau for Cyberspace and Digital Policy as acting digital freedom coordinator.

Izzy Santa and Katie Patala joined Qualcomm as senior director and director of public affairs. Santa previously led comms at One Concerns, and Patala comes from Mercury Public Affairs.

NSO Group’s Shalev Hulio is stepping down, and COO Yaron Shohat is taking over as part of a bigger reorganization of the company. Another 100 employees will also be laid off.

In other news

Amazon may be in the running to buy Signify Health. CVS is also among the bidders for Signify, and offers are due around Labor Day weekend, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple employees don't want to go back to the office. Some launched a petition calling for more flexible work arrangements.

Websites are selling abortion pills that haven’t been approved by the FDA, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Apple supplier Foxconn is investing $300 million in northern Vietnam, generating 30,000 jobs in the area.

Amazon Care’s fast and frugal approach to telehealth can pose risks and is often at odds with medical best practices, The Washington Post reported.

Walmart and DoorDash are ending their four-year delivery partnership in September. The companies say it’s “no longer mutually beneficial.”

Samsung broke ground on a research complex in South Korea, and plans to invest $15 billion in the project by 2028.

The metaverse will look better eventually, right?

Twitter was on fire last week after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Horizon Worlds was coming to France and Spain using a screenshot of his digital avatar standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and (we think?) La Sagrada Familia. Apparently, the criticism got so intense that Zuckerberg needed to say something.

“I know the photo I posted earlier this week was pretty basic — it was taken very quickly to celebrate a launch,” he said, adding that “major updates to avatar graphics are coming soon.” Still, as The Verge pointed out, what you can do with graphics matters more than the graphics themselves.

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