In this month’s instalment of our visual series on topical data themes, we look at corporation tax rates, climate-related litigation and the ongoing misfortune of pubs.

Which country has the highest corporation tax?

Large multinationals have faced mounting criticism in recent years over their efforts to ‘optimise’ the amount of corporation tax they pay – the most popular method involves shifting their profits, and therefore taxable revenues, to low-tax countries.

The G7 is aiming to create a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 per cent

That might not be an option for much longer, however, after the G7 reached an accord in June that aims to create a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 per cent.

Currently, the average tax rate of the 38 countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is 21.5 per cent; incidentally, the UK’s is 19 per cent.

Figure 1 shows that the countries with the highest corporate tax rates are France (32 per cent), followed by Australia, Mexico and Portugal (30 per cent). On the other side of the spectrum sit Switzerland and Hungary, with tax rates of 8.5 and nine per cent, respectively. 

Figure 1: Corporate tax rates in OECD countries in 2020 (per cent)
Note: Some countries such as the US and Switzerland have higher rates than indicated in the chart when including taxes to sub-central governments. Source: OCED

Are climate-related litigations stepping up?

May saw what has been described as a major milestone in the fight against climate change, when oil giant Shell fell foul of a court ruling in the Netherlands. The company, which had pledged to cut its emissions by 20 per cent (compared to 2019 levels) before 2030, was ordered to slash them harder and faster than planned (by 45 per cent by 2030).

Oil and gas majors face pressure to align with a low-carbon world

Will the verdict have a powerful ripple effect? Although Shell seems likely to appeal, the overall signal is clear: oil and gas majors face pressure on all sides to reorientate their business to align with a low-carbon world.

Figure 2 shows how the volume of climate litigation has increased since 1986. Each dot represents one case – the number of cases in light blue (which occurred between 2015 and 2019) is significantly larger than the ones in grey and green (which occurred between 1986 and 2004, and 2005 and 2009).

Figure 2: Climate-related litigation cases (1986- 2019)
Climate-related litigation cases (1986-2019)
Note: Each dot represents one case. Source: ‘Climate-related litigation. By numbers’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Data from Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University; Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science correct to December 2019

Of particular note, cases have almost doubled from 884 to 1550 since 2017, with most litigation (79 per cent) happening in the US, although just ten per cent of the cases were brought against companies.

Climate litigation is concentrated in six areas

The majority of the 135 businesses involved in litigation cases are energy and natural resources companies, with litigation concentrated in six areas: the rights to life and a clean environment, the need to keep carbon in the ground, areas of corporate responsibility, enforcement of climate targets, adaptation impacts and climate disclosures.

If it’s not COVID-19, it’s the weather

April 12 was an important date in England, with lockdown restrictions finally starting to ease after a long winter. Many people would have looked forward to the prospect of finally being allowed at pubs, bars and restaurants to grab a meal or an outdoor drink with friends.

However, while data shows an incremental rise in hotel activity (Figure 3) as expected, the same cannot be said for pubs.

Figure 3: Hotel activity after April 12, 2021
Hotel activity after April 12, 2021
Source: Huq Industries Limited, as of 15 May 2021

Figure 4 shows the bad luck of pub owners this year.

Bad weather caused the number of people frequenting pubs to drop

The number of people frequenting pubs spiked in the days that followed the reopening, but dropped as the enthusiasm of being outside to meet friends and family waned because of bad weather. They’ll no doubt be praying for good weather – especially with the Euro 2020 football in full swing.

Figure 4: Pubs activity after April 12, 2021
Pubs activity after April 12, 2021
Source: Huq Industries Limited, as of 15 May 2021

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