🌎 The EPA steps in

Plus: The Mormon Church hid $$$ in shell companies
🌎 The EPA steps in

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US environment regulator reined in Norfolk Southern. The Environment Protection Agency set the requirements that the train company must meet to clean up the toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio.

Vivek Ramaswamy is running for US president. The biotech entrepreneur known for opposing corporate diversity and sustainability efforts claimed a spot in the 2024 GOP presidential spotlight.

The Biden administration proposed tougher border restrictions. The US would deny asylum to those who have not sought protection elsewhere on their journey, a rule first proposed under the Trump administration.

Walmart and Home Depot forecast a tough year for retail. The two store chains warned shareholders in their earnings calls that customers will be cautious with their spending in 2023.

McKinsey is planning to lay off around 2,000 workers. The consultancy is getting ready to undergo one of its biggest workforce reductions to date, according to Bloomberg.

Stellantis posted a record annual profit. One of the world’s largest carmakers announced a $1.6 billion share buyback to celebrate the milestone, which was driven by a 41% surge in electric vehicle sales.

Ant Group partnered with the NBA. The fintech affiliate of Alibaba will promote the basketball league’s content online to China’s massive fanbase.

What to watch for

US semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia reports earnings today (Feb. 22), and it’s not likely to be good news. Chipmakers all over are still feeling the pain of inflation-cautious consumers, rising interest rates, and China’s erstwhile zero-covid policies.

But honestly—what with ChatGPT being all the rage, and Nvidia being tapped by Microsoft to amplify AI of all sorts—who cares about the chips being down! The more people use ChatGPT, the more computing power OpenAI (ChatGPT’s creator) will require. Even if “robots chatting to you in an uncannily astute way” itself turns out to be more fad and fluff than gamechanger, the fundamentals hold the potential for huge changes in the computing industry.

And that, fellow humble non-computers, is what Wall Street is betting on.

Image for article titled 🌎 The EPA steps in
Graphic: Ananya Bhattacharya

UK companies are loving the four-day work week

In a recent pilot, 61 UK companies gave their employees a paid day off each week, and the results are in: It’s bloody brilliant.

The experiment is the world’s largest of its kind to date. Running from June to December 2022, it involved firms ranging from small, local restaurants to larger financial and tech firms. The model sought to keep productivity at the same, pre-trial level or higher for the 2,900 employees taking part, and pay was also kept the same. Two big results:

71%: Drop in feelings of burnout
65%: Reduction in sick days taken

But the model didn’t suit all participants. Nearly 10% of companies in the trial decided the five-day grind works, with smaller size being one of the factors that may make fewer work days more of a challenge for firms.

The Mormon Church hid $$$ in shell companies

Failing to disclose billions of dollars in investments isn’t too saintly, but that’s exactly what the US Securities and Exchange Commission said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did.

The Mormon Church and its investment manager were fined for not disclosing some $32 billion in assets. The Church has said that the money is used to support its extensive missionary and philanthropy work during troubled economic times, but whistleblower allegations have cast doubt on that claim.

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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, $770 sake, and cardamom to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Ananya Bhattacharya, Sofia Lotto Persio, Cassie Werber, Tim Fernholz, Julia Malleck, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.