Philips Avent poised to launch wellbeing initiative for 650 employees
Philips Avent, the manufacturer of mother and childcare products, has launched a wellbeing support initiative for more than 650 employees throughout 2012. The healthy living programme, designed specifically for Philips Avent and launching in April, has been developed by wellbeing provider Let’s Get Healthy to improve employees’ overall health and lifestyles. Employees will take part in group activities, seminars, health information and promotion all designed to improve health and wellbeing.
BASF to stop selling genetically modified products in the EU
The German chemical group BASF, has abandoned efforts to sell genetically modified products in Europe, including its Amflora potato, because of overwhelming opposition to the technology, the company said Monday. The withdrawal of the potato leaves a type of corn produced by Monsanto as the only biotech crop grown in Europe.
NGOs upbeat over China’s environmental transparency progress
Green activists applauded steady progress on environmental transparency in China after public campaigns forced major players to release sensitive information on pollution and its origins. A recent survey on openness and accountability showed that an increasingly informed public is putting greater pressure on companies and local authorities to clean up. The report also noted that more than 500 enterprises are now communicating with environmental NGOs about their monitoring and disclosure systems.
Child labour for fair trade cotton probed by United States investigators
United States investigators are conducting a preliminary inquiry into forced child labour used in an organic and fair trade cotton program that supplies the American lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret, a federal law enforcement official confirmed this week. Fairtrade International said in a statement last week that it has “prioritised further training on child labour and child protection for its members” beginning in early 2012. At the same time, both Fairtrade International and the company have disputed elements of the story. Bloomberg News stands by its reporting.
San Francisco Chronicle
SBI to expand microfinance portfolio by 50% in Q4
State Bank of India plans to grow its microfinance portfolio by 50% in the fourth quarter, drawing comfort from the Reserve Bank of India’s move to frame guidelines for microfinance institutions (MFIs). SBI’s move is expected to lift lender sentiment and offer a psychological boost to MFIs. The country’s largest lender aims to increase its sectoral exposure to 1,300-1,400 crore by March this year from 900 crore in December. While SBI’s exposure to the MFI sector constitutes a tiny portion of its loan book, it’s a sizeable amount for micro lenders serving small borrowers.
Provident Financial Czech is announced as the most ethical non-banking lender
The Czech NGO People in Need has announced their updated Index of Ethical lending which assesses the contractual conditions of non-banking lenders. The NGO has stated that Provident Financial in the Czech Republic is the non-banking lender with the most ethical approach to customers. This is a great success following the Provident team’s close co-operation with the NGO to make some modifications to their contractual conditions, making them even more transparent.
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