Fair Trade USA plans redefinition of fair trade
Fair Trade USA, which last year split from Fairtrade International, is aiming to double the impact of Fair Trade by 2015 by broadening its definition. Fair Trade coffee must currently come from grower-owned co-operatives, but 'Fair Trade for All' will permit the certification of coffee from coffee estates and plantations that are deemed to be worker-friendly, making it easier for big coffee buyers such as Green Mountain, Starbucks and Whole Foods to buy more Fair Trade products. Critics include Equal Exchange, a leading US Fair Trade brand, which has launched a petition against the move, stating that it will harm "authentic, small farmer-centred Fair Trade", and that there is a more than an ample supply of Fair Trade coffee already available from co-operatives.
Tesco pilots new waste-saving packaging
Tesco has raised the stakes on the supermarket food waste front by announcing its second wave of packaging designed to keep produce fresher for longer. This week the retailer pilots a new film in its stores that claims to double the amount of time fruit and vegetables stay fresh. The film, which is bio-degradable and compostable, has been developed after five years of research by British packaging firm EVAP. The innovation comes just three months after Tesco's first experiment in this field – in February it followed Marks & Spencer in trialling a packaging strip that absorbs the hormone responsible for fruit ripening.
Investor initiatives will push sustainable investment at Rio+20
In the run-up to Rio+20, the CEOs of 20 financial institutions, including UniCredit, Standard Chartered and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), have made a commitment to support the preservation of ecosystem services. The 'Natural Capital Declaration' (NCD) is a commitment to integrate natural capital criteria into financial products and services, developed by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). Meanwhile, Aviva has convened a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition (CSRC) of more than forty global institutions to call for improved reporting on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks at Rio+20.
Minister's letter reveals frustration at UK's lack of low carbon strategy
The UK government should do more to help green industries boost economic growth, stop the UK falling behind international rivals, and avoid losing its global leadership on the environment, William Hague has told cabinet colleagues, in a private letter seen by the Guardian. The foreign secretary also warns that unless Britain takes stronger leadership on the green economy there is no hope of securing an international agreement on climate change. "I believe we should reframe our response to climate change as an imperative for growth rather than merely being a way of being green or meeting environmental commitments," says Hague.
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EU hails airline emissions tax success
More than 99% of all major global airlines have complied with the first step of Europe's controversial scheme to charge them for their carbon emissions. The inclusion of aviation in the European Union's emissions trading system (ETS) from the start of 2012 caused uproar from airlines in more than 20 countries, but virtually all except for eight Chinese and two Indian airlines have submitted the required baseline emissions data for 2011.
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