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A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California.Gabrielle Lurie | Reuters

Airbnb and Vrbo, Expedia's home sharing unit, are teaming up to combat repeat "party house" offenders.

The companies announced Friday they're developing the Community Integrity Program, an industry collaboration to share information on removed listings and strengthen action against repeat offenders who book rentals just to throw parties in them.

"Both companies have worked separately to address the challenge of disruptive party houses that are repeatedly reported. However, the challenge persists, as repeat offenders may be delisted by one platform, only to pop up on another," the companies said in a joint release.

"Neighbors don't care if a party house is getting its reservations through any particular platform – they just want the parties to stop. That's why one platform alone can't solve this problem – it requires an industry-wide effort," they added.

The companies will work with a third-party intermediary to develop a process to identify listings that have been banned permanently from either platform due to repeated violations of respective community policies. That information will then be available for each company to take action if the listings then pop up on other platforms.

Airbnb and Vrbo are asking other short-term rental industry companies to join the program, which is intended to launch in the U.S. in the coming months.

So-called "party houses" have long been a problem for short-term rental companies. Airbnb, for example, introduced a global ban on party houses houses, which are ones that repeatedly cause a nuisance in neighborhoods.

However, due to the way these companies operate, they can't always stop parties from taking place. Guests can sometimes check-in to remote properties themselves, while the owner is away, and can invite as many people over as they want.

"Industry collaboration is an important step in narrowing enforcement gaps and prioritizing the safety of the communities in which we all operate. This is the first step in building on an important foundation," the companies said.

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Tags: the companies said are teaming up short term rental the companies the challenge one platform an important party houses party house an industry

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Underdog activist Engine No. 1 is launching an ETF after big Exxon win

A view of the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, May 15, 2021.Kathleen Flynn | Reuters

Engine No. 1, the upstart activist firm that put three candidates on Exxon's board of directors, is launching an exchange-traded fund in a bet that shareholder activism will take center stage in coming years.

The Engine No. 1 Transform 500 ETF will trade under the ticker VOTE, and has received $100 million in commitments, the company said Tuesday. The passive fund will invest in 500 of the largest U.S. companies and track the Morningstar U.S. Large Cap Select Index, with the aim of helping to "instigate positive change for employees, customers, communities, and the environment."

The firm said it will hold companies accountable on environmental, social and governance issues through the votes it casts, while also working with companies to strengthen investments made in stakeholders.

"Too many sustainable investing strategies shift an investor's exposure away from companies that need to change rather than working to change them," Engine No. 1 managing director Michael O'Leary said in a statement. "We see an opportunity to harness the power of investors in a new way."

Engine No. 1 has gained prominence over the last few months after waging a campaign against Exxon, which ultimately proved successful. The firm began targeting the oil giant in December 2020, saying Exxon needed to shift its operations and significantly reduce emissions in order to ensure long-term financial viability.

The activist firm nominated four board directors, two of which it secured at Exxon's annual shareholder meeting in May, which spanned several hours and included a surprise one-hour recess between sessions.

The vote over a third candidate was too close to call at the meeting's conclusion, but was later confirmed in favor of Engine No. 1.

The campaign against Exxon comes amid a surge in ESG investing, and as investors — especially younger generations including millennials — increasingly want to support companies whose mission aligns with their values.

"There shouldn't be a trade-off between positive impact and financial performance," said Yasmin Dahya Bilger, head of ETFs at Engine No. 1. "VOTE will be a unique solution to this long-time concern, enabling index investors the ability to generate long-term value while bringing action to the most critical environmental, social, and governance issues facing these companies."

Engine No. 1 said that digital investment advisor Betterment will integrate the new fund into its socially responsible investing strategies. The fund's annual expense ratio will be 0.05%.

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